Volkswagen in the top ten -- set back for Kleinschmidt. Just before the rest day the Rallye Telefonica Dakar was influenced by considerable turbulence. As Stephane Henrard and co pilot Bobby Willis remain in the overall classifications top ten...
Volkswagen in the top ten -- set back for Kleinschmidt.
Just before the rest day the Rallye Telefonica Dakar was influenced by considerable turbulence. As Stephane Henrard and co pilot Bobby Willis remain in the overall classifications top ten with a Volkswagen Tarek, only a part of all teams and service teams crossed the eleventh stage finish line in Siwa. One of the leading teams in the truck competition drove over a landmine when crossing the Libyan-Egyptian border. All three crewmembers were uninjured -- according to the organisers' information there was only damage to vehicle components. In cooperation with Egyptian authorities, the rally organising committee has suspended the movement of all competitors and service crews across the border zone.
Stephane Henrard reached the finish, however Jutta Kleinschmidt and the entire Volkswagen service crew have been affected by the interruption. After a thrilling fight back that had brought the Volkswagen works driver from 64th place, at the rally's beginning, to a respectable fourth overall, the German and her co driver, Fabrizia Pons, suffered a serious setback on today's eleventh stage. After 276 of the 438 special stage kilometres from Sarir in Libya to Siwa in Egypt, Jutta Kleinschmidt diagnosed a drive train problem on her Volkswagen Tarek. Being towed by Volkswagen's service vehicle in the competition, with the start number 440, the Tarek passed all checkpoints and was provisionally classified in 66th position at the stage finish. As a result, Jutta Kleinschmidt slipped to eleventh place, two positions behind her team colleague Stephane Henrard.
"As Jutta has not yet reached the stage finish in Siwa, and a lifting of the cordoning off of the border zone by the organiser is not expected, we cannot foresee when we can start with an exact analysis of the damage", explained Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing. "Therefore, it is not possible to comment on whether Jutta and Fabrizia can continue in the competition. Only tomorrow's rest day will enable us to give a more precise diagnosis."