Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen stage 7 report

Sainz/Cruz and Race Touareg 3 on the verge of clinching victory at "Dakar" dress rehearsal The new Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 is on the verge of clinching victory on its rally debut: on the penultimate leg of the Silk Way Rally through Russia,...

Sainz/Cruz and Race Touareg 3 on the verge of clinching victory at "Dakar" dress rehearsal

The new Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 is on the verge of clinching victory on its rally debut: on the penultimate leg of the Silk Way Rally through Russia, which Volkswagen contests as its "Dakar" dress rehearsal, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) defended their overall lead in front of the stage winners, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), in the predecessor model. Before the last leg on Saturday, which merely features a short special stage covering 16 kilometres, the advantage of the "Dakar" winners Sainz/Cruz is 11m 16s. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) in the third Race Touareg continue to rank in third place overall behind their team colleagues.

The seventh of the Silk Way Rally's eight legs led from Elista to Maykop and thus from the Kalmykian desert to the shores of the Black Sea. In a partially breath-taking landscape the entrants had to contend with a fast special stage that featured many branch-offs which put the navigators' skills to the test as well.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)

"Even though the special stage leading to the finish of the Silk Way Rally in Sochi is just short: victory is only certain after reaching the finish. But we can already draw a conclusion for our 'Dakar' dress rehearsal at this point in time. The entire team, the drivers and co-drivers did a tremendous job during the past seven days. I have no doubt that the final service and the final stage will again be handled perfectly."

#100 - Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall

"Today was about losing as little time as possible to my team colleague Nasser Al-Attiyah in order to keep a comfortable advantage. We managed to do this - Nasser just beat us by a few seconds. Still, the rally will only end on the podium in Sochi. Until then we need to stay concentrated in order to win in the end."

#102 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 1st place leg / 2nd place overall

"Today's special stage was again marked by speed but despite these many flat-out passages it was extremely demanding in terms of navigation. The teamwork with my co-driver Timo Gottschalk was simply fantastic. If the communication and quality of our work is like this at the 'Dakar' too we'll have good chances of winning it in the end."

#104 - Mark Miller (USA), 3rd place leg / 3rd place overall

"A few tricky things had to be mastered today. For one, visibility was more difficult because we were driving in the direction of the rising sun and were dazzled by the glare. It was definitely no easy feat to properly judge the many directional changes and intersections but my co-driver Ralph Pitchford did a perfect job today. Now we've found our rhythm and can immediately bring our performance to bear."

Number of the day

For the Volkswagen service crew with its MAN trucks and Multivans the seventh leg featured the so far longest route with 659.86 km some of which included poor and narrow roads. In total, the support convoy will cover 3,895 kilometres between St. Petersburg and Sochi. The trip from and to Germany will add about another 3,350 kilometres.

-source: volkswagen

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