Dakar: Volkswagen stage 12 report

Unusual rhythm for Volkswagen drivers Kleinschmidt and Saby After two long connecting legs and the rest day of the Dakar Rally, today was the first day since Friday on which the Volkswagen drivers, Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno ...

Unusual rhythm for Volkswagen drivers Kleinschmidt and Saby

After two long connecting legs and the rest day of the Dakar Rally, today was the first day since Friday on which the Volkswagen drivers, Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson, got re-accustomed to the pace of the competition. On the 12th leg from Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) to Bamako (Mali), however, they had to deal with an unusual rhythm. The merely 213 km long special stage, which in addition to several high-speed stretches also included a number of villages, required utmost discipline of the teams. In certain places speed was limited to 30 kph, strictly monitored by the organisers, using GPS data acquisition. At one point, Jutta Kleinschmidt ceded passage to two other participants, causing her to lose about one minute of time. With positions five for Bruno Saby and six for Jutta Kleinschmidt, the Volkswagen team finished the stage better than expected. Both Race-Touaregs again proved to be well set for today's requirements. In the overall s! tandings, Saby consolidated position seven.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"We had not expected this result. It's good to be among the front runners on a short stage now, as well. The next three days, however, will be decisive. We want to see both cars finish, Bruno lock in his promising overall position and Jutta fight for first-class finishes each day.

Bruno Saby (#224)
"The stage today presented a number of highly different surfaces and extreme differences in speed. From laterite to sand, speed limits down to 30 kph as well as extremely fast stretches, everything was included. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's leg already - it's long and difficult, in other words, much more typical for the Dakar."

Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204)
"We were trying very hard to adhere to all the speed limits and permitted Luc Alphand and Jean-Louis Schlesser to pass. It was extremely dusty and the track had several treacherous potholes. It was impossible to drive with a normal rhythm today. This leg didn't necessarily suit our vehicle concept very well. All the more encouraging is our result of this stage."

Luc Alphand (BMW) has managed the fastest time of the 12th special of the 26th Rally Dakar. The clock was stopped after 213 kilometres between Bobo-Dioulasso and Bamako. Jean-Louis Schlesser (Schlesser Ford) was second with 1min 28sec behind, followed by overall leader Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) at 5 min 40. The last year's champion Hiroshi Masuoka from Japan, was clocked 6min23 behind.

Thus Frenchman Schlesser gained some minutes on second placed Masuoka, but the former champion (1999, 2000) could not win enough time to threaten overall leader Peterhansel, who kept the lead with a 1h04min gap to Masuoka and 2h18min to Schlesser. The 12th stage winner Alphand jumped to rank four in the overall standings after winning the very fast special from Burkina Faso to Mali, where some speed controls inconvenienced the pilots.

The Nissan rally specialists Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen, who had been missed for almost three days on their way to the finish of stage number nine, arrived in Bamako as 13th and 14th.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Colin McRae , Luc Alphand , Jean-Louis Schlesser , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Ari Vatanen , Matthew Stevenson , Bruno Saby , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport