Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen stage 5 summary

Stage victory for the "Dakar" winners -- Volkswagen continues in front Wolfsburg (09 September 2009). The "Dakar" winning duo Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) won the fifth stage of the Silk Way Rally through Russia, Kazakhstan and...

Stage victory for the "Dakar" winners -- Volkswagen continues in front

Wolfsburg (09 September 2009). The "Dakar" winning duo Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) won the fifth stage of the Silk Way Rally through Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and thus reduced its gap in the overall standings. On the total of 480 kilometres through Kazahkstan from Beyneu to Janaozen it defeated its team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) by a razor-thin lead of seven seconds. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) finished with respective gaps of 2m 57s and 4m 13s. The second-longest leg again featured high-speed driving across largely flat steppe terrain and confronted the co-drivers with the tough challenge of hard-to-detect trails. The order of the top four overall positions remains unchanged halfway through the Silk Way Rally: Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk extended their lead over Sainz/Cruz, while Miller/Pitchford and de Villiers/von Zitzewitz moved closer together again.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"With today's leg we've completed about half the distance of the Silk Way Rally. All four Race Touareg vehicles are running in front and without any problems - we can be happy with that. But to actually win the rally, we've got to first reach Ashgabat. This continues to be our goal for the next four legs."

#100 - Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 1st place leg / 4th place overall
"I'm very happy with the stage win. The changes we made to the suspension set-up of the Race Touareg were clearly noticeable and my teamwork with Dirk in the cockpit is perfect as well. We've found our rhythm. Other than that, driving as fast as we could was what counted again today."

#101 - Carlos Sainz (E), 4th place leg / 2nd place overall
"The leg was largely flat and fast but also included a stony and twisty section towards the middle. Navigating was difficult, so we met our team colleagues again in between. After passing Nasser, we missed another branch-off and lost some time."

#103 - Mark Miller (USA), 3rd place leg / 3rd place overall
"The narrow outcome shows that all four Volkswagen teams again tried to give their very best. The fact that all of us got off the track more or less at the same places could not be attributed to our four co-drivers - the road-book just wasn't perfect."

#104 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall
"It was an interesting day. I caught Mark, hit a rock and had to stop for a tyre change. After that I attacked to make up the time again. When Mark and Carlos missed a branch-off, we were able to pass. Second place is an optimal result for Timo and me as we don't half to open the course tomorrow."

Coming up next--
At the end of the sixth leg across 698 kilometres from Janaozen (Kazakhstan) to Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan) the Volkswagen drivers will reach the Caspian Sea, the world's largest lake. Before the contenders arrive in the port city they have to complete a special stage of 514 kilometres featuring a tricky mix of varying terrain - such as rocky mountain paths, extremely dusty trails, soft dunes, small canyons and dry lakes.

The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on Eurosport
Thursday, 10 Sep 09
08.30 - 08.45 leg 5
13.15 - 13.30 leg 5 (rerun)
23.30 - 23.45 leg 6

The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on n-tv
The news channel n-tv carries daily reports on the Silk Way Rally in its newscasts at 8.00, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 18.00 hrs.

TV schedules subject to change.

-credit: 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