Dakar: Volkswagen stage 2 report

Narrow track layout makes unusual demands On the second stage of the Dakar Rally, the Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson in their Race-Touareg cars had to tackle an extremely tight course...

Narrow track layout makes unusual demands

On the second stage of the Dakar Rally, the Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson in their Race-Touareg cars had to tackle an extremely tight course close to Narbonne. The 25 kilometre long special stage in southern France with its unusually tight corners and hairpins forced the drivers to reverse on numerous occasions. On this stage, won by a two-wheel drive buggy, which was not at all suitable for four-wheel driven vehicles Bruno Saby came home in eighteenth position and Jutta Kleinschmidt finished 30th. The teams, who will cross the French-Spanish border today, will complete a total of 563 kilometres before seeing the leg finish in Castellón.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director):
"I watched the stage directly from the track. The Race-Touareg has very well balanced handling. The fact that both drivers lost so much time today on such a tight course is very unfortunate. It doesn't reflect the capabilities of both the drivers and the cars. However, technically and organisationally everything is running perfectly according to the plan."

Bruno Saby (#224):
"The Race-Touareg is running absolutely perfectly. Unfortunately, we always had to reverse in the hairpins, which cost a lot of time. The final competitive section in Europe is held on Saturday, then finally the African stages start."

Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204):
"The European sections of the Dakar Rally are indeed of interest for the spectators, but are sometimes however a little ungrateful for us drivers. The track was so tight that even reversing wasn't easy. Our stages are still to come."

Winner of the first special was Spanish driver Josep Maria Servia in a Schlesser-Ford, ahead of Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France/ Mitsubishi Pajero). Servia as a consequence is the first overall leader of the Telefonica Dakar 2004. Gregoire De Mevius (BMW) took third place, while his BMW team mate Luc Alphand finished fourth ahead of Miki Biasion (Mitsubishi). Both Kenjiro Shinozuka (Nissan), winner of the prologue, and Giniel De Villiers (Nissan) suffered crashes but were able to finish the special. Shinozuka lost over five minutes and De Villiers more than two on the second stage.

Only 47 cars made it to the end with the remaining 95 having to content themselves with an average time decided by the organisers after the buggy of French driver Claude Arnoux became lodged on the course for over an hour.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Stéphane Peterhansel , Miki Biasion , Kenjiro Shinozuka , Matthew Stevenson , Bruno Saby , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport