Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen stage 4 summary

Silk Way Rally, Leg 4, 08 September 2009 Volkswagen driver Sainz wins prime leg of Silk Way Rally Wolfsburg (08 September 2009). Success after a tough job: Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz (E/E) won the...

Silk Way Rally, Leg 4, 08 September 2009

Volkswagen driver Sainz wins prime leg of Silk Way Rally

Wolfsburg (08 September 2009). Success after a tough job: Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz (E/E) won the fourth and at 878 kilometres the longest leg of the Silk Way Rally through Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan -- albeit with a razor-thin lead: At the finish Sainz/Cruz were merely 20 seconds apart from their team colleagues Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), with whom they had fought a distant duel throughout the day. In the overall standings, the Volkswagen pairing Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), who suffered a bit of misfortune today, continues running in front. The leading duo lost several minutes due to a slow puncture and subsequent tyre change. They finished the leg in third place ahead of Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D). The four Race Touareg vehicles arrived at the finish with a gap of just 3m 12s between them -- a clear sign of the enormous balance within the Volkswagen factory team. The fourth leg took the teams in the west of Kazakhstan from Oral (Russian: Uralsk) at high speed through a completely flat steppe region, empty desert -- partially on very soft sand -- and ended in Beyneu (Kazakhstan).

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"Today's leg was the first real endurance test, very long and difficult. It demanded the full concentration of the drivers and co-drivers for hours and seeing all four Race Touareg vehicles finish in such close succession is a tremendous result. But the day also showed that we've still got some potential in terms of suspension set-up. The rally provides the best opportunity to test various settings in preparation for the Dakar Rally."

#100 - Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 4th place leg / 4th place overall
"The leg today was pretty fast to drive, for a large part on sand - a genuine cross-country marathon leg. But I'm a bit disappointed with our result because we were lacking the necessary speed. When Mark overtook us, we weren't able to follow. We'll work on the set-up of our car till tomorrow."

#101 - Carlos Sainz (E), 1st place leg / 2nd place overall
"This was a really long day. The leg was totally flat, very quick and, in some parts, very hard to cope with for the navigators. That the gaps between the members of the Volkswagen team on such a long leg are so close shows how strong our whole squad is. Tomorrow we're in for another tough leg."

#103 - Mark Miller (USA), 2nd place leg / 3rd place overall
"We set a very good pace today and were clearly leading over long stretches. Unfortunately, navigating was pretty difficult and we lost some time as a result. The characteristics of the leg, particularly towards the end, reminded me of the off-road sections of the Dakar Rally."

#104 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 2nd place leg- / 1st place overall
"On the whole, I'm happy with the result because over such a long distance it's never easy to open the course and find the right way. Nevertheless, we were running well until we caught a puncture and had to change the wheel. After that, we again fought a nice duel with Carlos and Lucas."

Coming up next-- On the way from Beyneu to Janaozen the route covering a total distance of 480 kilometres will first lead to the Ustjurt plateau featuring desert- and steppe-like terrain. The changing vegetation will look familiar to the Volkswagen drivers because it strongly resembles the deserts in Africa and South America. "Lunar landscapes" with sand and dunes alternate with stony, twisty trails through mountains and rocks.

The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on Eurosport
Wednesday, 09 Sep 09
08.30 - 08.45 Leg 4
12.55 - 13.10 Leg 4 (rerun)

The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on n-tv
The news channel n-tv carries daily reports on the Silk Way Rally in its newscasts at 8.00, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 18.00 hrs.

TV schedules subject to change.

-credit: vw

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Giniel de Villiers , Nasser Al-Attiyah , Timo Gottschalk , Ralph Pitchford , Lucas Cruz Senra , Kris Nissen
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport