Dakar: Volkswagen stage nine report

Volkswagen thoroughly deserves the Dakar Rally's only rest day on Sunday in Atar: With third and fourth positions on the ninth stage between Tidjikja and Atar, the two works drivers Robby Gordon and Jutta Kleinschmidt yet again scored an excellent...

Volkswagen thoroughly deserves the Dakar Rally's only rest day on Sunday in Atar: With third and fourth positions on the ninth stage between Tidjikja and Atar, the two works drivers Robby Gordon and Jutta Kleinschmidt yet again scored an excellent result for their marque.

After nine of the 16 stages and the successful completion of 2033 of 4913 stage kilometres of the 9000 kilometre plus desert rally, the German Volkswagen works driver Jutta Kleinschmidt with her Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons lies in a promising position as best diesel vehicle in the field: The former 'Dakar' winner, driving the Race-Touareg powered by a 260 PS 2.5-litre five-cylinder TDI diesel engine, extended her advantage in third place overall from Carlos Sousa. The four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen, in another Race-Touareg, helped his team colleague Bruno Saby, who stopped due to a mechanical problem with the suspension after 150 kilometres, lost three hours as a result.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)

"Robby and Jutta have scored an impressive result again today. Our tactic to let Jutta push with calculated risk, and for Robby to offer support for her as chase car was absolutely correct. She still has good chances finishing at the top of the field. Even though both Bruno and Juha had problems today, all four of our cars are still in the competition, a fact which only one other leading team can claim to. The rest will do the drivers and co-drivers the world of good, however for the rest of the team there is plenty of work to prepare the four Race-Touareg prototypes as well as possible for the final, but by no means easier 'Dakar' week ahead."

#310 -- Jutta Kleinschmidt (D), 4th place (leg) / 3rd position overall

"I'm extremely pleased with the day's result and our third position overall. It goes without saying that we stopped at the scene of Nasser Al-Attiyah's accident. We had to change two tyres between the first and second checkpoints, as afterwards we had to cross very rocky terrain. It's reassuring to reach the rest day in this position."

#317 -- Robby Gordon (USA), 3rd place (leg)

"That was a great day, because in spite of two punctures we still finished third. Even though it is a shame that we can no longer fight for a top position, we are obviously looking to score good results each day. The rocky route today was very difficult -- several of our opponents presumably found a way around these obstacles."

From the Volkswagen bivouac

- Compulsory reading: Volkswagen works driver Bruno Saby has a permanent companion during his rallies -- "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. "The book is much more than a lucky mascot. I flick through it again and again as I can't get enough of each chapter", confesses Saby.

- Music lover: There is a small MP3 player in Dirk von Zitzewitz's luggage. "I was still listening to music on Spanish liaison stage. However, since arriving in Africa I haven't used it anymore", said the German, who had copied his CD collection to the hard drive. Musical taste: Everything from Bryan Adams to Luciano Pavarotti.

Three questions to co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz

How's the relationship working out with Robby Gordon?

"Up till now it has been working well, it gets better day by day. We are still getting to know each, both personally and working in the car. But I think we get on well together as we both have the same goal."

What was the best moment of the Dakar till now?

"The two fastest stage times that we set, but even better was that our car landed on its wheels after the roll and we were able to continue."

What is your biggest concern?

"The sand and dust. For two days the visibility was appalling because of the sandstorms. The seven hour drive in the dark during the marathon stage was also an enormous challenge. However the positive thing is that the Race-Touareg is such a strong car. The team has worked fantastically, and since the accident the car handles just as it did when it was new."

-volkswagen-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Juha Kankkunen , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Carlos Sousa , Bruno Saby , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport