Dakar: Volkswagen Motorsport final day quotes

Team quotes after final stage (15) Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director) "We're looking back on a Dakar Rally which has given us a lot of great moments as well as a bitter disappointment. Volkswagen had ten outstanding days when we ...

Team quotes after final stage (15)

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)

"We're looking back on a Dakar Rally which has given us a lot of great moments as well as a bitter disappointment. Volkswagen had ten outstanding days when we claimed stage victories, five good days when we finished the stages in places two and three, and one black day when an identical damage to the engine's valve train caused both of our best-placed vehicles to lose ground with no chance for recovery and our chances for victory vanished. So we're extending our congratulations to Stephane Peterhansel and Mitsubishi, the overall winners of the 2007 Dakar Rally. The tasks we set for ourselves after the 'Dakar' a year ago have been fully accomplished, in some areas we've clearly achieved improvements: The drivers and co-drivers, the entire team, logistics and the Race Touareg were better than in 2006. With the refined version of the Race Touareg we set the pace on all the stages and dominated the rally with a commanding lead from the very first day until suffering this dual set-back on the ninth leg. Ten of 14 possible stage victories speak for themselves. This improved performance becomes particularly evident when you look at the three most demanding legs in the sand of Mauritania, two of which we won and the third of which we were leading up to being struck by the defect. In the final analysis, this has again been an outstanding Dakar Rally, a very well organised event, with changed rules for navigation that proved to work well yet again, with precise roadbooks, a great atmosphere and thrilling sport."

#303 -- Carlos Sainz (E), 2 nd place (leg) / 9th place overall

"It was a great rally for myself and the entire team. I'm really satisfied with the development of the Race Touareg 2 between 2005 and 2007. Volkswagen has claimed ten of 14 stage victories, and in highly different conditions at that -- when it comes to the strengths of this vehicle, this says it all. I feel more disappointed about the fact that in the end we had no more chance for victory for the team than for myself."

#303 -- Michel Périn (F), Carlos Sainz's co-driver

"Even though we weren't able to win I walk away with a good feeling because the step we took from last year to this 'Dakar' has been huge. Carlos and I were often the course-opening car and in spite of this I didn't commit a single navigation error -- and I'm glad about this, needless to say. Carlos has long ceased to be a 'Dakar' rookie, he understands the tasks at hand here perfectly. He listens to my commands very carefully even when I ask him to brake, which is unusual for a rally driver. What's more, Carlos drives at an impressive, high speed."

#305 -- Mark Miller (USA), 21st place (leg) / 4th place overall

"The great strides made with the evolution of the Race Touareg are really remarkable. Volkswagen set the pace at all times. My new co-driver Ralph Pitchford and I had a good time, we worked together very well in the cockpit. A podium place would have been possible for us but we lost some time helping our team colleagues. That was perfect teamwork and the natural thing to do. I'm already looking forward to the 2008 'Dakar', we feel well prepared."

#305 -- Ralph Pitchford (RSA), Mark Miller's co-driver

"Driving with Mark was fantastic. We're happy with the performance of the entire team. The engineers, car chiefs and mechanics all did a superb job. Unfortunately, Volkswagen didn't win. As far as the rally is concerned, it was another super 'Dakar', which was demanding in every respect."

#301 -- Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 1st place (leg) / 11th place overall

"The first half of the rally was really great. We proved that we, the entire team and the Race Touareg are competitive in every way. Particularly on the long stages in the sand we made great strides. Last week then started with a big disappointment when we lost our lead. That was a bitter moment, although such things can always happen in racing. After that, the situation was tough for us because a few times we had to start very late and then had to overtake much slower vehicles on the route. But even on the days when things weren't going that well for us we learned a lot for the future."

#301 -- Dirk von Zitzewitz (D), Giniel de Villiers' co-driver

"For Giniel and myself, the 2007 'Dakar' went superbly up to the second part of the marathon leg, exactly the way we'd wanted it to be. We were even leading by half an hour when the defect hit us. Still, it was a good race because we didn't only prove to ourselves but, even more importantly, to all the others that we're capable of winning."

#313 -- Carlos Sousa (P) -- Lagos Team, 4th place (leg) / 7th place overall

"I'm very happy with our performance in my eleventh Dakar Rally. The Race Touareg is an outstanding car which makes me feel very comfortable and which allowed me to keep the pace of the front runners at all times. Our Lagos Team and the fielding squad from Phoenix Sport did a perfect job, the support from Volkswagen was great -- I can only thank everyone for this. Of course the most rewarding day of the rally was the day I won the first stage in my native Portugal in front of this gigantic turnout of spectators and then took the lead for two days."

#313 -- Andy Schulz (D) -- Lagos Team, Carlos Sousa's co-driver

"During the entire rally we were absolutely competitive. It was really good fun. Working with Carlos was great. That we were looking for each other in the sandstorm in vain for such a long time after getting stuck but freeing ourselves again quickly was probably a funny thing, but for us, it was simply a misfortune. After all, we were third on the leader board at the time."

-credit: vw motorsport

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Stéphane Peterhansel , Carlos Sousa , Giniel de Villiers , Michel Périn , Ralph Pitchford , Kris Nissen , Andy Schulz
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport