The Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson were noticeably at home on the first sand stage of the Dakar Rally. On the beach of the Spanish coastal town of CastellÃ³n, Jutta Kleinschmidt set,...
The Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons and Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson were noticeably at home on the first sand stage of the Dakar Rally. On the beach of the Spanish coastal town of Castellón, Jutta Kleinschmidt set, with 6 minutes 45 seconds, the eleventh quickest time in the Volkswagen Race-Touareg and improved her overall position by three places to 27th place. Her French team colleague Bruno Saby logged 18th place on the nine kilometre long stage and therefore improved two places to sixteenth position. For the drivers, the final European stage finishes this evening after the 852 kilometre trek to Tangiers in Morocco. After which the first 2024 kilometres of the Dakar Rally will be complete, of which only 35.5 kilometres have been driven against the clock. In Africa, a total of 9,322 kilometres are on the agenda to 18 January.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“Both drivers performed very well on a stage that was lined completely by spectators. The stage on the beach and the Parc fermé in the town centre of Castellón were the perfect backdrop. Up till now the Race-Touareg has behaved perfectly, not only on the special stages but also on the long liaison link sections including snow, traffic jams and rush hour traffic.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204)
“Sand at last! I felt really comfortable straight away. That was the first foretaste of Africa. The course was already a little rutted and I even had to overtake a competitor. All things considered, the result is absolutely okay.”
Bruno Saby (#224)
“I have now finally driven the Race-Touareg on a sand stage. The car handled very well. The huge amount of spectators was simply fantastic. A beautiful finish to the European section.”
It is the first rally win for De Villiers who timed 6min 22sec to finish four seconds ahead of Belgian Gregoire De Mevius in a BMW with overall race leader, French Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel, third at five seconds. Peterhansel heads the overall standings 5 sec ahead of Spain‘s José María Serviá.