Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen stage 1 report

Volkswagen starts into "Dakar" dress rehearsal with one-two lead Volkswagen started to the Silk Way Rally through Russia with a one two-stage lead. On the first leg between St. Petersburg and Staraya Russa the 2009 Dakar Rally winners, Giniel...

Volkswagen starts into "Dakar" dress rehearsal with one-two lead

Volkswagen started to the Silk Way Rally through Russia with a one two-stage lead. On the first leg between St. Petersburg and Staraya Russa the 2009 Dakar Rally winners, Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), in the Volkswagen Race Touareg set the fastest time of the day with a 2.06-minute lead ahead of their team colleagues Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D).

Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) followed with a 2.29-minute gap in fourth place today. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) lost 25.03 minutes to their Volkswagen team colleagues on the near-86-kilometre route due to water in the electronics system.

The leg from St. Petersburg to Staraya Russa put the entrants to the test with many branch-offs which made the navigation difficult. In addition, various water passages and long wooded sections with soft sand were characteristic of this special stage.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"The Silk Way Rally serves as our 'Dakar' dress rehearsal but considering the cold temperatures and the large amount of rain there was no desert feeling today. This makes the first special stage a demanding one for the drivers and co-drivers as well. Three of our Race Touareg vehicles worked perfectly but with the fourth one we unfortunately encountered a minor problem due to a lot of rain penetrating the system. The electronics of Mark Miller's car failed some of the time. We'll do everything within our means during the service to assure that this phenomenon won't occur again."

#100 - Carlos Sainz (E), 4th place leg / 4th place overall
"After just a few kilometres something broke on the bonnet after we went through water. As a result, it was raised a bit on one side which impaired the visibility of my co-driver Lucas Cruz. That's why a navigation error cost us some time at a blind spot. But the rally is still long enough for us to recover this mishap."

#101 - Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 1st place leg / 1st place overal l
"This starting leg was definitely more difficult than we'd thought. Both in terms of the driving and the navigation the first day was very demanding. Staying on the track was crucial to keep from damaging the car. Just one navigation mistake - and we could have lost a lot of time correcting it. But thanks to Dirk's perfect job this didn't happen to us."

#102 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 2nd place leg / 2nd place overall
"Today was about managing a good start to the rally and finding the right rhythm. That's why we drove with just a calculated risk. The leg was pretty demanding, considering it was just a starting stage. Second place is a good starting base for tomorrow. I think our days at this rally are still coming up."

#104 - Mark Miller (USA), 17th place leg / 17th place overall
"Unfortunately, we didn't have full engine power in the middle of the special stage for some kilometres today - water apparently penetrated the electronics system. The positive thing about it was that our Touareg practically repaired itself afterwards - and we were able to finish the special stage at a regular pace. It wasn't the best possible start for us."

Number of the day

The 2010 Silk Way Rally is the first cross-country rally held according to the new navigation rules. So-called hidden way points ("Way Point masked" (WPM)) are indicated on the co-drivers' displays only when approaching them at a distance of 400 metres . In the past, the way points were shown at a three-kilometre distance. The first leg featured a total of seven of these new WPMs - and the Volkswagen co-drivers handled them perfectly.

Coming up:
Sunday, 12 September: leg 02, Staraya Russa (RUS)-Vyasma (RUS) in brief: a split special stage with neutralisation in between; 80% fast, hard ground; 20% twisty wooded sections.

-source: vw

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Giniel de Villiers , Nasser Al-Attiyah , Timo Gottschalk , Ralph Pitchford , Kris Nissen , Lucas Cruz
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport