Volkswagen still with two Tareks in competition.
From the outset of the Rallye Telefónica Dakar rest day there was positive news for Volkswagen: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons will participate further in the competition. Till yesterday's eleventh stage the women's team had impressed with a fight back from 64th place to capture fourth position in the overall classification. After 276 of the 438 kilometres run against the clock on the special stage between Sarir and Siwa, the former Dakar winner had to park her Tarek with a drive train malfunction. The Volkswagen race truck entered in the competition towed the vehicle to the finish of the Libyan stage.
"Our analysis revealed that the engine's timing belt had jumped a tooth", explained Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing. "In accordance with the definition of the regulations we changed the cylinder head as the valves were damaged while the pistons remained unscathed. Jutta and Fabrizia will therefore remain in the competition. Because of yesterday's 4 hour 13 minute delay, they have fallen to eleventh place overall. Stéphane Henrard and Bobby Willis are still in ninth place. Our goal is still the same; to cross the finish line this coming Sunday in Sharm El Sheik with both Volkswagen Tarek's."
"We don't give up that easily", explained Jutta Kleinschmidt, the 2001 Dakar winner. "We had the buggy towed out of the stage in the hope that we could continue racing. Our wishes were granted, because the entire Volkswagen team did a brilliant job. Obviously because of the lost time, we cannot expect to finish at the sharp end of the field. On the remaining six stages until the finish, we want to try to get into the top ten again. After all, another 2060 special stage kilometres lie in front of us -- anything is possible."