Volkswagen stage three report

Volkswagen continues to lead with Carlos Sainz Wolfsburg (5 January 2009). Volkswagen continues to hold its ground after the third leg of the Dakar Rally, with Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F) remaining at the top of the leader board. With some...

Volkswagen continues to lead with Carlos Sainz

Wolfsburg (5 January 2009). Volkswagen continues to hold its ground after the third leg of the Dakar Rally, with Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F) remaining at the top of the leader board. With some controlled driving, the Spanish-French duo was able to increase the lead it established yesterday in its Race Touareg by more than a minute to 3.40 minutes on the 694-kilometre leg westwards from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci in Argentina. The second fastest time behind the day's winners Nasser Al-Attiyah/Tina Thorner (Q/S) in a BMW X-raid was enough for Sainz to maintain his lead. The third leg presented the participants with speedy stretches and with winding -- and therefore also demanding -- sections. With some rocky ground to cover, they had to reduce the risk of tyre blowouts in order not to forfeit valuable time.

The third best time of the leg was likewise secured by Volkswagen, with Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) coming in 1.05 minutes behind their teammates. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) achieved fourth position in another Race Touareg on the second longest special stage of the rally, measuring 551 kilometres. The pair fell one place in the overall rankings, to third place. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) were ranked sixth in leg 3, meaning that all four Race Touareg were in the top six. Overall, Miller/Pitchford have now moved up one position, to sixth place.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"We've defended our overall lead and claimed three of the top four positions on this leg - so once again, we can be happy with this result. On the third day of driving, everything is still going according to schedule. I'm particularly delighted that Dieter Depping came third today, as he got off to an unlucky start on the first day. He managed to recoup some lost ground yesterday and today he has demonstrated that he is still very much in the race. All in all, we are very happy. But we also know that there's a long way to go yet."

#301 - Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall
"Having won yesterday's leg, we started out in front today, which isn't always easy. And today's route was more varied and more demanding than on the first two days. With its winding sections, the middle part of today's route in particular was a lot more interesting than the previous legs. There were rocks all along the route so we tried to avoid getting any flat tyres."

#305 - Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 4th place leg / 3rd place overall
"We started off by not taking any unnecessary risks today. Today's leg included an interesting 200-kilometre stretch that was very bendy and therefore very demanding for the driver. We are still near the top of the leader board - and that was our aim. Today was only the third day and there are still another eleven demanding legs to come."

#307 - Dieter Depping (D), 3rd place leg / 15th place overall
"Today's leg was very good to me. Much of it was like a classic sprint rally - and that's something I'm good at. On top of that, I really felt good again in the Race Touareg today, and the chassis tuning was just right. We're slowly getting into the swing of things on this rally. Looking ahead, anything's possible still. We intend to improve our performance step by step."

#308 - Mark Miller (USA), 6th place leg / 6th place overall
"Today was fairly uneventful for me, and that's a good thing. We planned to play it safe today but to keep the top of the leader board within reach, and I think we achieved that. At one point, a BMW X-raid overtook us. We thought that trying to keep up with it was too risky, and instead, we decided to set our own pace up to the finishing line to avoid any flat tyres."

News from the Volkswagen bivouac

- On the ball - communication within the Volkswagen team: Approximately 80 team members, 14 legs, and a single communication system - during the Dakar Rally, a Volkswagen Motorsport SMS service is making sure that all the team members are kept fully up to date at all times. The text messages are the most reliable way for the team to communicate in Argentina and Chile. In addition to up-to-the-minute details of time checks on the special stages, the technicians, engineers and managers also get important information and appointments sent directly to their mobile phones several times a day. This internal team tool will have handled some 16,000 text messages by the end of the "Dakar". The press is likewise kept up to date on the leg results and the current rankings of the overall classification: accredited journalists can register for this media service via the press database at www.volkswagen-motorsport.info.

- BP Ultimate on the road - supplying the Race Touareg with diesel: One of the challenges faced by the Volkswagen team during the Dakar Rally is supplying the 280 hp cross-country rally prototypes and the race trucks with the diesel they need. Making 40,000 litres of the BP Ultimate diesel, which is commercially available in Europe, available at an unwavering quality and in accordance with the regulations called for some special logistics. Half of the fuel was shipped to Argentina in 200-litre barrels while the other half was shipped to Chile - as supplies may not be taken across the border between the two countries. During the rally, the supplies of the Ultimate fuel are being delivered to the bivouacs by two lorries in Argentina and one in Chile.

- Additional safety feature for the Race Touareg: In the evening of the second Dakar Rally day, the Volkswagen service crew fitted the Race Touareg with a new safety feature. An additional bumper on the front of the vehicle is a simple but effective way of dealing with possible collisions with large and heavy obstacles such as bushes. The tubular frame weighing 3.5 kilograms goes right round the radiator grill of the 280 hp cross-country rally prototype and had its first rally outing on today's leg.

Coming up

Tuesday, 6 January: Leg 4, Jacobacci (RA)-Neuquen (RA). The teams will face some new challenges at the start of the special stage of 459 kilometres, in the form of rocky sections and water crossings. This leg won't just put the participants' driving skills to the test, it will also test their navigational skills as they once again negotiate sandy conditions and off-road stretches.

The Dakar Rally on TV

6 January
05:30 - 09:00 hrs ARD ARD-Morgenmagazin
06:00 - 07:00 hrs RTL Punkt 6
08:30 - 09:15 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)
10:45 - 11:30 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)
18:45 - 19:05 hrs RTL RTL aktuell
19:15 - 19:30 hrs Eurosport Finish live
23:00 - 23:45 hrs Eurosport Highlights live
00:00 - 00:30 hrs RTL Nachtjournal
00:45 - 01:30 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)

7 January
05:30 - 09:00 hrs ARD ARD-Morgenmagazin
06:00 - 07:00 hrs RTL Punkt 6
09:00 - 09:55 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)
10:45 - 11:30 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)
18:45 - 19:05 hrs RTL RTL aktuell
19:15 - 19:30 hrs Eurosport Finish live
23:00 - 23:45 hrs Eurosport Highlights live
00:00 - 00:30 hrs RTL Nachtjournal
00:45 - 01:30 hrs Eurosport Highlights (repeat)

-credit: vw

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Dieter Depping , Giniel de Villiers , Tina Thorner , Nasser Al-Attiyah , Michel Périn , Timo Gottschalk , Ralph Pitchford , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport