Volkswagen and Jutta Kleinschmidt celebrate Race-Touareg's first stage victory Debut victory for Volkswagen at the Dakar Rally: Jutta Kleinschmidt and co-driver Fabrizia Pons celebrated the first stage victory of the new Volkswagen Race-Touareg...
Volkswagen and Jutta Kleinschmidt celebrate Race-Touareg's first stage victory
Debut victory for Volkswagen at the Dakar Rally: Jutta Kleinschmidt and co-driver Fabrizia Pons celebrated the first stage victory of the new Volkswagen Race-Touareg on the penultimate day of the Dakar Rally. Thus, on the 16th and second to the last leg of the 11,000 kilometre long desert rally, the ladies' team set the highlight in a series of top six stage times achieved in the past ten days. The two women tackled the 192 kilometre long stage from Nouakchott in Mauritania to Dakar in Senegal within 2:34.49 hours, thereby being 59 seconds quicker than pursuer Luc Alphand. For the fifth time, Volkswagen was thus the best Diesel team of the competition in a leg classification. Team mate Bruno Saby and co-driver Matthew Stevenson completed the good result for Volkswagen in setting the eighth-best time. On a stage that did not permit satellite-based GPS navigation, thus demanding the skills of the co-drivers, the Franco-British duo defended its sixth position overall.
(Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"I am proud of Jutta, Fabrizia, Bruno and Matthew. They have all shown top performances on a difficult leg shortly before the end of the rally without endangering our goals of getting to Dakar with both cars. With such a splendid result under our belts, we are looking with composure at the remaining 27 kilometres along the beach of Dakar."
"I am absolutely delighted and I dedicate this victory to the whole team as it deserves it for its hard work. Again, the car was immaculate. The navigation was difficult, but Fabrizia once more did an excellent work."
"Today's stage run over very rough trails and required good skills in navigation. It was our goal to keep sixth position, which we've managed to achieve with a flawlessly running Race-Touareg. A big thanks to my co-driver Matthew for his good performances. I am relieved and I am looking forward to the finish."
Former world class skier Luc Alphand (BMW) finished second. Third was Japanese Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi), who had a gap of 1:24 minutes. Second german driver Andrea Mayer finished in tenth place (8:37 minutes back).
With a tenth place Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel defended his overall lead. The Mitsubishi driver is now 51:23 minutes ahead of Masuoka and over three hours of Jean-Louis Schlesser. Mayer is on fifth place (5:48:24 hours back).