Dakar: Volkswagen stage seven report

Volkswagen ease through longest stage. Volkswagen coped brilliantly with the longest stage of the Rallye Telefónica Dakar from Ghadames to Ghat. Volkswagen Tarek works driver, Jutta Kleinschmidt produced her best result so far with fifth ...

Volkswagen ease through longest stage.

Volkswagen coped brilliantly with the longest stage of the Rallye Telef?nica Dakar from Ghadames to Ghat. Volkswagen Tarek works driver, Jutta Kleinschmidt produced her best result so far with fifth quickest time of the day on the first Libyan special stage of the desert classic. "Even though the speed was extreme and we had to drive full throttle for long periods, I am very satisfied. Our Tarek ran perfectly", explained the physicist after the first half of the two-day marathon stage. Today's special stage of 584 kilometres was almost the equivalent of the distance of 589 kilometres covered during the previous five special stages. "The sand dune sections were demanding, just as the navigation was also not easy", added Jutta Kleinschmidt.

Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons.
Photo by Volkswagen Racing.

With her performance, the 2001 Dakar winner together with co driver Fabrizia Pons moved up one position in the overall classification. The German-Italian duo now occupies ninth position, 2 minutes 6 seconds behind their teammate St?phane Henrard. The Belgian, navigated by Bobby Willis, lost 8 minutes 58 seconds to the women's team on the seventh stage and fell from seventh to eighth place. However, with ninth position today Henrard maintained his position in the top ten for the third day in a row.

Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, director of Volkswagen Racing, was impressed by the performance of the teams: "Of all stages, Jutta achieved her personal best result on the longest stage of this year's competition. She has now improved for the fifth day in succession. I am particularly satisfied that both Tarek buggies are running reliably, set top ten times and are, by a big margin, the best two wheel drive vehicles in the competition."

On the second half of the marathon stage tomorrow, the teams must complete a further 497 kilometres against the clock. Also tomorrow evening, in the Libyan town of Sabha, a full service can be performed on the competitors' vehicles after only registered service vehicles were authorised to give assistance to the competitors today.

-vw-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizia Pons , Bobby Willis