Dakar: Volkswagen stage four report

Two Volkswagen drivers gain positions. On the first African stage of the Rallye Telefónica Dakar, Volkswagen drivers again succeeded in improving their positions. While Dieter Depping and Walter Bachhuber successfully defended 13th position in...

Two Volkswagen drivers gain positions.

On the first African stage of the Rallye Telef?nica Dakar, Volkswagen drivers again succeeded in improving their positions. While Dieter Depping and Walter Bachhuber successfully defended 13th position in the overall classification, St?phane Henrard and Bobby Willis jumped up to 14th place in their Volkswagen Tarek. Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons successfully continued their fight back. Dropping back to 64th place on Thursday, the German Italian duo had already fought back up to 48th position by Friday evening. In Tunisia the women's team gained a further eleven positions and now lie in 37th place.

St?phane Henrard and Bobby Willis.
Photo by Volkswagen Racing.
Even though the gravel special stage had a total length of a mere 25 kilometres, the teams had plenty to report about the section close to El Fahs, south of the capital Tunis. "Initially we drove in the dust cloud of the competitor in front, Josep Maria Servia", said Jutta Kleinschmidt. "After we felt that the car's handling was a little spongy, we stopped and discovered a right front tyre failure. Since the stage was anyway very short and the puncture was on a non driven axle, we decided to continue with it to the finish." The 2001 Dakar winner's tactics paid off -- in spite of the puncture and dust clouds, the German resident of Monaco lost a mere 3 minutes 48 seconds to the stage winner St?phane Peterhansel.

In the same way as Jutta Kleinschmidt, Dieter Depping and St?phane Henrard, and many other competitors, also drove the wrong way at a junction that was not clearly marked in the road-book. "It makes us confident that in spite of all the adversities thrown at our three driver teams, they succeeded in asserting themselves, and in the case of both Jutta and St?phane they even managed to improve their overall positions -- on top of this, today's stage was better suited to four wheel drive vehicles", judged Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing.

On the agenda for Monday is the fifth stage from Tozeur to El Borma that with 285 kilometres against the clock includes, for the first time, a long desert stage.

-vw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Bobby Willis , Dieter Depping , Walter Bachhuber