Fourth stage victory for Volkswagen -- Al-Attiyah in front
Wolfsburg (27 June 2009). Fourth day of the rally in Brazil, fourth fastest time set by Volkswagen on a special stage and overall lead by Nasser Al-Attiyah: The Volkswagen factory driver who at the Rallye dos Sertoes competes for the first time for the Wolfsburg automobile manufacturer and -- also for the first time -- together with co-driver Timo Gottschalk (D), won the fourth special stage between Minacu and Palmas ahead of his team-mates Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz Senra (E/E) and Mauricio Neves/Eduardo Bampi (BR/BR). On the 753-kilometre leg featuring trail-like passages, fast and slow gravel sections and numerous water crossings Al-Attiyah made up 2.10 minutes to Sainz and 6.32 to Neves, and moved forward in the overall standings with a 1.27-minute lead over Sainz.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director) "That was a great day for us: As they have been doing straight from the start, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk showed that they're a strong combination. Carlos Sainz made a small mistake which cost time but in which Mauricio Neves in the third Race Touareg perfectly lived up to a Volkswagen trait: Thanks to his help, Carlos was able to continue driving. That's teamwork."
#301 - Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place leg / 2nd place overall "A really nice leg that offered everything which characterises cross-country rally racing. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly my stage in every respect: I had quickly caught up with Nasser Al-Attiyah and was driving in his dust when I slipped in a straight line in a right-hand corner. Mauricio pulled me out, so the loss of time wasn't excessive. Tomorrow is another day."
#302 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 1st place leg / 1st place overall "For the past three years, I've been dreaming about the chance to compete for the Volkswagen factory team. This dream has come true - and whenever you add such a great leg as today's, which really suits the Race Touareg well, everything's perfect. Slow passages, quick sections requiring you to alternate between attacks and taking it easy on the material - that's my idea of a nice special stage."
#309 - Mauricio Neves (BR), 3rd place leg / 8th place overall "An action-packed day. Right at the beginning of the special stage I assisted Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz Senra who'd gotten stuck alongside the track. After that, we attacked a little harder. But when the tyres started degrading a little towards the end of the stage we took it easier again in order to not risk any damage to the car."
Number of the day On the fourth and so far longest special stage of the rally Volkswagen factory driver Nasser Al-Attiyah changed gears a total of 2,743 times. The driver from Qatar drove 18 % of the stage in fifth, 29 % in fourth, 34 % in third, 18 % in second and only 1 % in first gear.