Dakar: Volkswagen stage 16 report

Second place -- best stage result for Volkswagen. On the turbulent penultimate stage of the Rallye Telefónica Dakar, Volkswagen, with the day's second fastest time, achieved their best stage result to date, during the competition debut of the...

Second place -- best stage result for Volkswagen.

On the turbulent penultimate stage of the Rallye Telef?nica Dakar, Volkswagen, with the day's second fastest time, achieved their best stage result to date, during the competition debut of the Volkswagen Tarek. St?phane Henrard and Bobby Willis set the second quickest time, only 4 minutes 50 seconds behind today's winner Massimo Biasion and therefore beat their previous best result -- third place on the third stage of the famous long distance rally. Only eighth, at the first time checkpoint of the 365 kilometre long special stage, Henrard improved six positions on the rocky route through the Sinai massif.

Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons.
Photo by Volkswagen Racing.

"On the last long stage, St?phane and Bobby achieved a remarkable result for Volkswagen", said Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing. "On the one hand the navigation was very demanding, and on the other, good equipment was important on this tough stage. The result confirmed our concept's potential."

While at the front, a turn in the sporting events took place benefiting the Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka, Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons in their Volkswagen Tarek also experienced a turbulent stage. On the way to the first time checkpoint the works duo overtook Norman Kronseder, a motorbike rider. "He didn't see us, and during the overtaking manoeuvre, the rear quarter of our car touched him", explained the shocked Jutta Kleinschmidt. "He crashed and we stopped immediately. He injured his foot in the accident. We stayed with Norman till the rescue helicopter arrived. I'm really very, very sorry. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best and a speedy recovery." Because of the incident on the way to the first time checkpoint, the women's team lost more than 22 minutes when compared with the quickest driver.

After Jutta Kleinschmidt had passed the third time checkpoint at 12:46, she caught the overall leader St?phane Peterhansel, at kilometre 320, who she had been trailing by 15 minutes, after he had collided with a boulder. "We stopped a second time to find out what had happened", explained the 2001 Dakar winner. The Volkswagen works driver then continued her fight back, during which she improved from 19th position at the first checkpoint to seventh place at the stage finish.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Bobby Willis , Hiroshi Masuoka