Central Europe: Volkswagen stage three summary

Third consecutive leg win for Volkswagen Race Touareg Successful on sometimes stony, sometimes soft soil, narrow roads and challenging terrain: having secured the three of three possible leg wins, the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 remains...

Third consecutive leg win for Volkswagen Race Touareg

Successful on sometimes stony, sometimes soft soil, narrow roads and challenging terrain: having secured the three of three possible leg wins, the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 remains undefeated, in the Central Europe Rally. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D) prevailed in the third leg of this new event on the cross-country rally calendar, taking the field from Baia Mare (Romania) to Debrecen (Hungary). They now hold fifth postion in the overall standings. Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) finished sixth in the leg, thus working their way up to second position in the overall standings, some two minutes behind the current leader, Mitsubishi's Stephane Peterhansel. Despite a tyre puncture, Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D) defended their ninth position in the overall rankings, with their Race Touareg entered by customer team Lagos.

Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F), however, encountered several problems in leg three. Due to a broken gearshift lever, the reigning overall FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winners lost valuable time during the first special stage but in the second, they proved to be the quickest but dropped back to eighth place in the overall standings, nevertheless. Furthermore, Sainz/Perin were hampered by limited vision in the muddy sections the competitors had to cope with at the beginning of the special stage. Hence, they couldn't avoid getting involved in an incident. Hiroshi Masuoka and his co-driver, Pascal Maimon, had stopped at the trackside to change a tyre. Maimon suffered a foot injury and had to retire afterwards.

Leg three featured two special stages held around Baia Mare to then take the competitors back to Hungary, to the city of Debrecen. From there, the Wednesday route will feature a total mileage of 580 kilometres to Veszprem, including 150 special-stage kilometres. While covering the distance, the teams will have to cope with increasingly sandy conditions.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)

"The third leg win demonstrates the outstanding competitiveness of the Race Touareg. Yet, despite the success secured by Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, we can't be completely happy with the third leg. Things like the broken gearshift lever of Carlos Sainz' car just mustn't happen. This component's reliability has been tested over the three-time Dakar distance and never caused a problem, to date. Still: we needn't worry about the competitiveness of our cars and consequently, the chances of a Volkswagen holding the top position at the end of the rally are looking good."

#201 - Carlos Sainz (E), 8th place (leg) / 8th place overall

"The fastest time we set in the second special stage demonstrated what would have been possible for us today. In special stage one, however, we had to cope with a dose of bad luck. The gearshift lever broke and we had to cover more than half the distance in second gear. Then, we injured Pascal Maimon when he had to change a tyre at a narrow place. An incident that happened although we were driving at walking speed and extremely carefully. I'm awfully sorry that the two have been forced into retirement, on this account."

#203 - Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 1st place (leg) / 5th place overall

"I'm truly delighted with having won today's leg. But that's cross-country rallying. Yesterday, we had bad luck and lost a lot of time due to a minor problem. Today, we made up for some of the lost ground. A situation underlining that everything is possible until the event is over. The entire squad fights hard and gives its very best. There are a lot of special-stage kilometres to be covered until Saturday - and you will have to wait until then to know the outcome."

#209 - Carlos Sousa (P), 9th place (leg) / 9th place overall

"We made a good start into the first special stage. We changed some set-up adjustments and these changes clearly improved our traction when it comes to exiting tight corners. Unfortunately, we lost about three minutes when suffering a tyre puncture in special stage two."

#213 - Dieter Depping (D), 6th place (leg) / 2nd place overall

"Today, we again could rely on perfect equipment. No matter on which terrain, I always feel comfortable in the Race Touareg. A fact that has been demonstrated by the three leg wins secured by Volkswagen. I think, my co-driver Timo Gottschalk and I again set a good time and now, we even moved up to second position in the overall ranking. I'll try to keep my pace consistently throughout the event. Then, everything can be possible in this demanding event."

-credit: volkswagen-motorsport.com

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Dieter Depping , Hiroshi Masuoka , Andreas Schulz , Stéphane Peterhansel , Carlos Sousa , Giniel de Villiers , Pascal Maimon , Michel Périn , Timo Gottschalk , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport