Volkswagen drivers among the front runners on Marathon stage as well On the 14th of the Rally Dakar's total of 17 legs, the two Volkswagen Race-Touaregs rendered another convincing performance, marked by high reliability and good positions.
Volkswagen drivers among the front runners on Marathon stage as well
On the 14th of the Rally Dakar's total of 17 legs, the two Volkswagen Race-Touaregs rendered another convincing performance, marked by high reliability and good positions. Setting the sixth-best time between Ayoûn El Atroûs and Tidjikja, Mauritania, Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons continued their week-long series of finishing among the top six. Bruno Saby and co-driver Matthew Stevenson, as well, showed constant form on the 548-km leg, consolidating their seventh position overall by clocking the ninth-best time despite a puncture. After last week's retirement of a race truck and a setback for the Volkswagen team's second truck in competition - the only permissible source of help for the two Race-Touareg cars during today's marathon stage - the two drivers and their co-drivers rolled up their own sleeves to service their vehicles in the evening.
(Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"Yet again Volkswagen have mastered a long leg successfully. Bruno merely lost a bit of time due to a damaged tyre. The marathon service tonight requires only routine maintenance, no extra work, as the cars had been prepared perfectly and were running without any problem today. Considering the high stress constantly put on the people and the material, the reliability of the newly designed Race-Touareg and the good performances of the driver teams are truly impressive."
"Things are really going well for us at the moment. It's fun, even though today's stage was another really strenuous one. But that's exactly what I love about the Dakar. The thing that gave us a bit of a problem again today was the tyre inflating-deflating system. This system, permitted in the World Cup, was approved only shortly before the Dakar, too late for us to implement this development."
"We don't want to take any unnecessary risks on the remaining stages. Still, this is a rally, and not a leisurely cruise through the countryside. Up to the last mile, the Dakar has a number of potential pitfalls. During the limited service this evening, my co-driver Matthew, an experienced mechanic, plays a particularly important role."
Luc Alphand has won stage 14 of the Rally Dakar 2004 between Ayoûn el Altroûs and Tidjkja (Mauretania). The BMW-Pilot from France celebrated his second special win on the pit over 548 kilometres, british pilot Colin McRae (Nissan/14:20 minutes behind) and overall leader Stéphane Peterhansel from France (Mitsubishi/18:30 minutes behind) finished in second and third place. Defending Champion Hiroshi Masuoka from Japan (21:05 behind) reached Tidjkja behind Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser (Schlesser-Ford/20:15 minutes behind) in fifth place.
Germans Andrea Mayer and Andreas Schulz in their Mitsubishi came in on 8th place, 35:41 minutes behind Alphand. In the overall standings Peterhansel increased his lead to 1:05:04 hours ahead 2003 champion Masuako in second place, in third position Schlesser follows 2:31:44 hours behind.