Dakar: Volkswagen stage eight report

Volkswagen survives fuel shortage thanks to TDI technology The Volkswagen works drivers benefited in a special way from the innovative technology found in the Race-Touareg during the Dakar Rally’s most gruelling stage from Zouerat to ...

Volkswagen survives fuel shortage thanks to TDI technology

The Volkswagen works drivers benefited in a special way from the innovative technology found in the Race-Touareg during the Dakar Rally’s most gruelling stage from Zouerat to Tichit.

The team under Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen is the only works team to rely on low-consumption diesel power units. "While many of our opponents had fuel problems and, as a result, arrived so late at the finish that the eighth stage was cancelled, Jutta Kleinschmidt scored the day's third best result and all four works cars finished under their own steam”, stresses Kris Nissen. The reason for the high fuel-consumption:

At 660 kilometres the Mauritanian stage is not only the rally's longest, but was also the most punishing due to the weather conditions. "Strong headwinds meant that our fuel consumption was higher than normal after only 100 kilometres”, analysed Jutta Kleinschmidt. "Also, the driving became even more difficult after the showers turned the sand into molasses.” She strengthened her third place overall thanks to finishing third on the stage.

Team colleague Robby Gordon completed the stage in 12:24 hours – spending at least seven hours trekking across the countryside in the dark. "I drove more slowly towards the end to save diesel”, explained the American. "We reached the finish in spite of low fuel reserves thanks to TDI technology.” As a result, the ‘Dakar' debutant was spared the fate of many teams, for who the organiser sent a special fuel tanker out into the desert from the finish area on Thursday at 23:00 P.M.

From the Volkswagen bivouac

- Tireless: The seventh stage became a "24-hour race” for Klaus Leihener – the driver of one of the Volkswagen Race-Trucks needed a day and a night for it. On the way he repaired the damaged suspension on Juha Kankkunen's Race-Touareg, before he gave Buggy driver Jean-François Guinot some fuel. A broken spring on his truck cost the 40-year old even more time, before helping out several other truck teams in the desert towards the end of the stage on Friday morning. Little reward: An hour's rest in Tichit and a plate of pasta before heading off down the liaison stage to Tidjikja.

- Praise from Ambassador: Tom Riley, US Ambassador to Morocco was full of praise for Volkswagen works driver Robby Gordon. "We are impressed by your stage victories and your motivation, particularly to continue after the accident. This optimism is what distinguishes Americans”, said the Ambassador of his countryman.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Klaus Leihener , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport