Dakar: Volkswagen stage two report

Setback for Volkswagen on the second stage. After an extremely promising start to the Rallye Telefónica Dakar, with Volkswagen setting the fastest two-wheel drive vehicle stage time during the prologue, the Volkswagen works team experienced a...

Setback for Volkswagen on the second stage.

After an extremely promising start to the Rallye Telef?nica Dakar, with Volkswagen setting the fastest two-wheel drive vehicle stage time during the prologue, the Volkswagen works team experienced a setback on the second stage on Wednesday. On the 43-kilometre long special stage in Narbonne, in southern France, all three Volkswagen Tarek buggies were delayed by problems with the handbrake system. Jutta Kleinschmidt and her co driver Fabrizia Pons were affected the worst, as they had to put up with the fault from the very beginning of the stage, and lost approximately ten minutes to stage winner St?phane Peterhansel. Dieter Depping and Walter Bachhuber finished the second stage in thirteenth position and, as a result are the highest placed Volkswagen Team. St?phane Henrard and his navigator Bobby Willis are close behind in fifteenth position.

Dieter Depping and Walter Bachhuber.
Photo by Volkswagen Racing.

"The handbrake lever problem is obviously a disappointment to us as we were really in the thick of things", as Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing diagnosed. "On a relatively tight course like in Narbonne, the affects of such a problem on a large rear wheel driven vehicle are clearly reflected in the time, as a vehicle without a handbrake is considerably more difficult to drive in the very tight corners."

Jutta Kleinschmidt added: "Obviously the time loss at such an early stage in the competition is disappointing, however the rally is 7737 kilometre long. We are at the very beginning of the Tarek development -- during this phase teething problems are common."

While the Teams spend the night in Castell?n after a total of 574 kilometres, on Friday only a further 95 kilometres must be tackled on the way to Valencia, of which eight kilometres are driven against the clock. On Saturday the teams travel by ferry to Tunisia in North Africa where on Sunday the desert stages of the cross country classic begin.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Bobby Willis , Dieter Depping , Walter Bachhuber