Dakar: Volkswagen stage one report

Very promising start for Volkswagen in the Rallye Dakar. Volkswagen had a successful start to their premiere in Marathon Sport: During the Rallye Teléfonica Dakar prologue the Volkswagen works driver, Stéphane Henrard from Belgium and Bobby ...

Very promising start for Volkswagen in the Rallye Dakar.

Volkswagen had a successful start to their premiere in Marathon Sport: During the Rallye Tel?fonica Dakar prologue the Volkswagen works driver, St?phane Henrard from Belgium and Bobby Willis, his Northern Irish co-driver, set the fifth fastest stage time. Therefore, on its debut the Volkswagen Tarek was immediately the quickest two-wheel drive vehicle. Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons occupied twelfth place at the end of the prologue, Dieter Depping, the multiple German rally champion, and his co-driver Walter Bachhuber were classified in twentieth position.

Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons.
Photo by Volkswagen Racing.

The prologue, held on a short one-kilometre track in Marseille, served to determine the starting order for the renowned Marathon Rally. "One shouldn't read too much into the prologue, nevertheless I'm very pleased with the successful start", explained Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, head of Volkswagen Racing.

On the extremely winding course that resembled a motocross track with its jumps and tight corners, St?phane Henrard lost only a mere six seconds to the quickest competitor. "I obviously couldn't have wished for a better debut in the Volkswagen works team", explained the Belgian. "It would have been even quicker if I had set the brake balance just a little better."

The 25th running of the Rallye Dakar began hectically for Jutta Kleinschmidt: An electrical problem rendered the windscreen wiper of her Volkswagen Tarek inoperative. "Up till the final water splash I was really going well", said the German "However, afterwards I unfortunately couldn't see a great deal more."

The water splash also caused Dieter Depping a few problems "I misjudged it a little, water even came into the cockpit," said the Volkswagen driver who is competing in his first Marathon Rally. "Even so I'm satisfied: The Tarek is working well."

-vw-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Bobby Willis , Dieter Depping , Walter Bachhuber