Dakar: Volkswagen stage 11 report

Third leg victory for Volkswagen -- best time for Kleinschmidt Third stage victory for Volkswagen in 2005 Dakar Rally: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons won the eleventh stage of the cross country rally classic and strengthened their claim on...

Third leg victory for Volkswagen -- best time for Kleinschmidt

Third stage victory for Volkswagen in 2005 Dakar Rally: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons won the eleventh stage of the cross country rally classic and strengthened their claim on third place overall, which they have held since 5th January.

The female duo won the stage from Atar to Kiffa in Mauritania, which was shortened from 656 to 400 kilometres due to weather conditions, with an advantage of almost a minute. Previously, newcomer Robby Gordon had already scored two stage victories for Volkswagen on the first and fourth day. This was already the tenth stage victory for the Race-Touareg since its rally debut one year ago. The tenth stage victory for Volkswagen also marked Jutta Kleinschmidt's tenth 'Dakar' career stage victory. Five days before the finish Volkswagen works driver Bruno Saby also occupies a promising position: The Frenchman remains in sixth position overall after finishing fourth on Tuesday. Robby Gordon threaded his Race-Touareg through the tricky canyons and dune fields to finish the day nineteenth and holds eleventh position in the rally. The Race-Touareg from which Juha Kankkunen and countryman Juha Repo escaped unhurt after rolling yesterday was withdrawn from the competition.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)

"Congratulations to Jutta and Fabrizia, who thoroughly deserved their first stage victory. Juha's Race-Touareg was repairable but after its late arrival, we decided to conserve our energy, withdraw the car and send our mechanics early on the 1000 kilometre journey to the finish of today's stage instead. Regardless of the day's sporting events we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and relatives of the motorcycle rider Fabrizio Meoni who was fatally injured today."

#310 -- Jutta Kleinschmidt (D), 1st place (leg) / 3rd position overall

"It's a great feeling to win today. When I saw the Mitsubishi drivers travelling in formation ahead of me after 50 kilometres, I realised that I had made up time. I didn't notice a ditch hidden in the camel grass and damaged the servo steering, which afterwards only worked in one direction. I also had a stroke of good luck, but that's all part of the 'Dakar'. The victory today has done us the world of good, even when we are unable celebrate."

#307 -- Bruno Saby (F), 4th place (leg) / 6th position overall

"Everything ran fine up to the first check point. Then I had to avoid a motorcyclist who crashed directly in front of me, luckily he was uninjured. My car slid onto a pile of rocks, and I had to use the jack to free the car. The Race-Touareg ran perfectly and we are still sixth, which is completely meaningless on a day like today."

From the Volkswagen bivouac

- Number ten: Jutta Kleinschmidt celebrated the tenth 'Dakar' stage victory of her career in Kiffa. The German was the first woman ever to win a stage in the world's toughest desert rally. In 2001 she became the first woman in 'Dakar' history take overall victory.

- Amongst friends: Klaus Leihener, the driver of one of the two Volkswagen Race-Trucks, visited German friends in Atar on the rest day who are involved in a health project in the area. Natty, one of Leihener's sister's old school friends visited the Volkswagen bivouac and collected medicines and second-hand clothes for the needy Mauritanian locals.

Three questions to navigation wizard Bobby Willis

What exactly do you do in the Volkswagen works team?

"I enter the GPS coordinates, which we receive from the organiser the evening before each stage, in the maps. In addition to the road book, these maps also help the drivers to orientate themselves. I also prepared the maps used by the Service-Teams before the rally, which differ from the rally maps as they also include city maps, service stations, hotels and workshops."

When are the maps used and when is the road book used?

"My maps are almost solely reserved for use in emergencies, if the drivers can make no further progress with the road book. The co-driver studies the maps before the stage to familiarise himself with the terrain. My maps are like spare wheels -- you usually don't need them. But when you do need them, then it's all the more urgently."

Why are you interested in geography and maps?

"I became hooked after competing in my first rally as co-driver in 1977."

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Juha Kankkunen , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Bobby Willis , Fabrizio Meoni , Bruno Saby , Juha Repo , Klaus Leihener , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport