Dakar: Volkswagen stage 1 report

Good start for Volkswagen Volkswagen made a good start, in front of approximately 35,000 spectators, at the prologue of the 2004 Dakar Rally. Under the management of Motorsport Director Kris Nissen, the team passed scrutineering on 30 December...

Good start for Volkswagen

Volkswagen made a good start, in front of approximately 35,000 spectators, at the prologue of the 2004 Dakar Rally. Under the management of Motorsport Director Kris Nissen, the team passed scrutineering on 30 December and set itself up for the event prologue, also in Clermont-Ferrand, on New Year's Day. On a 1.5 kilometre long course close to the Grande Halle d'Auvergne, tackled by a total of 142 cars, 195 motorbikes and 63 trucks, Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson in a Race-Touareg set the seventh fastest time of 1minute 48 seconds. Their team colleague Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons were 13th a mere six seconds behind. Further stages are waiting on Friday in Narbonne, France and on Saturday in Spanish Castellon, before the rally transfers to Africa. Last Sunday, the team set off from Wolfsburg with two Race-Touareg cars, twelve support vehicles and a team of 43 people for the world's toughest rally.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director):

"Congratulations to the team, which has developed and built two Race-Touareg cars in record time. The start concluded an intensive preparation phase, and we are looking forward now to an exciting competition."

Bruno Saby (#224):

"Today I contested my very first competition for Volkswagen. The prologue isn't really very important, but it was a very special feeling -- and, on top of it all, in familiar surroundings as my hometown Grenoble isn't that far away from Clermont-Ferrand."

Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204):

"It's finally started. We have really worked very hard for this and notched up the first competitive kilometres with the Race-Touareg today. The real challenge actually begins in Africa."

Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka made a winning start with Nissan (1min 41,62sec) - followed by Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) from Nissan and Miki Biasion (Mitsubishi). Last year's Dakar champion Hiroshi Masuoka (Japan) made fourth place after the first 1,5km. Fellow Stephane Peterhansel was on eight after slightly damaging the front of his car. Luc Alphand (BMW) was fifth.

-vtd-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Miki Biasion , Giniel de Villiers , Kenjiro Shinozuka , Matthew Stevenson , Bruno Saby , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport