Dakar: Volkswagen stage seven report

Lead has changed -- Volkswagen driver de Villiers ahead of Sainz Volkswagen maintains its one-two lead but a change at the top of the leader board before the rest day makes the 29th Dakar Rally even more thrilling: Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von ...

Lead has changed -- Volkswagen driver de Villiers ahead of Sainz

Volkswagen maintains its one-two lead but a change at the top of the leader board before the rest day makes the 29th Dakar Rally even more thrilling: Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz took the lead, having clinched their second stage victory on the way from Zouérat to Atâr in Mauritania.

The South African-German duo that won the stage ahead of French Mitsubishi driver Stéphane Peterhansel and the Spanish-French Volkswagen factory team of Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn is lying 1.39 minutes in front of Sainz/Périn after seven stages in the Race Touareg. Up to the halfway point Volkswagen scored five of seven possible stage victories, with the Race Touareg 2 having maintained the lead throughout the rally since it started on 6 January.

With Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) in the factory Race Touareg in eighth position and Carlos Sousa/Andy Schulz (Portugal/Germany) in the Race Touareg of Team Lagos in ninth, a total of four Volkswagen contenders are among the top ten of the overall classification. Both teams suffered major time losses on the seventh day of the rally. For four-time "Dakar" winner Ari Vatanen and his Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons the rally ended prematurely because vehicle caught fire. Due to a sand storm, the seventh stage was shortened from the original length of 542 to 407 kilometres.

-credit: vw

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Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Fabrizia Pons , Stéphane Peterhansel , Carlos Sousa , Giniel de Villiers , Ari Vatanen , Michel Périn , Ralph Pitchford , Andy Schulz