In an increasingly tense fight for the Dakar Rally lead Volkswagen keeps the upper hand: Debutant Carlos Sainz still leads the rally after the fifth of fifteen legs, during which the gap among the lead cars significantly decreased.
His team mate Jutta Kleinschmidt in another Race Touareg 2 improved by one place to become the new second placed driver after the 819 kilometre stage, of which 350 kilometres were timed, from Ouarzazate to Tan Tan in Morocco. Mark Miller climbed from eighth to fourth position overall after taking the second fastest time behind the day’s winner Stéphane Peterhansel. Giniel de Villiers in fifth and Bruno Saby behind complete the Volkswagen quintet in the top six, who all lie within 2 minutes 41 seconds of one another.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“The constant changing of positions in the lead group is incredible. I don’t know if it has ever been so close during a Dakar Rally. The top eight all lie within four minutes. As before, everything is running perfectly for us, even though Mitsubishi were a little stronger today.”
#301 – Bruno Saby (F), 8th place (leg) / 6th position overall
“After 128 kilometres I drove through a very deep pot-hole. The Race Touareg 2 is incredibly robust, but my back hurt so much that I actually had to stop briefly once and was unable to drive as quickly afterwards as I had at the start.”
#303 – Jutta Kleinschmidt (D), 7th place (leg) / 2nd position overall
“Second overall – it can continue like this as far I’m concerned. It’s incredibly exciting; any of the first eight could take the overall lead on Thursday. I caught Bruno after 130 kilometres today and followed him. Everything ran perfectly.”
#305 – Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 6th place (leg) / 5th position overall
“We didn’t lose a single place on the leader board, but didn’t gain one either. Over the last 120 kilometres I had a slow puncture on the rear left. We didn’t change it though. So we followed Luc Alphand and Carlos Sainz to the finish.”
#307 – Carlos Sainz (E), 9th place (leg) / 1st position overall
“After we’d changed the punctured rear right tyre, we finished behind Luc Alphand, but kept first place overall. Over the next few days I expect the most difficult part of the rally in Mauritania where I have never driven.”
#309 – Mark Miller (USA), 2nd place (leg) / 4th position overall
“I’m sticking closely to my tactics and drive at around 90 per cent. Everything fell into place today and the road book was very precise. My co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz and I are delighted with second place today and fourth overall.”