Volkswagen drivers deliver thrilling fight for the lead Wolfsburg (10 September 2009). The duel for the top continues: By winning the sixth leg of the Silk Way Rally Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) reduced their gap to team-mates Al-Attiyah/Timo...
Volkswagen drivers deliver thrilling fight for the lead
Wolfsburg (10 September 2009). The duel for the top continues: By winning the sixth leg of the Silk Way Rally Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) reduced their gap to team-mates Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) by more than three minutes and are thus keeping the fight for overall victory open. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) occupied third place, followed by Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) in the fourth Race Touareg powered by a TDI engine. The leg from Janaozen (Kazahkstan) to Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan) ocvering a total of 698 kilometres was the second-longest but also the most difficult stage of the rally so far. Quick tracks in the dust alternated with mountainous, stony sections. Navigating difficulties and punctures suffered by Sainz, Al-Attiyah and Miller caused the our Race Touareg vehicles that had started within nine minutes of each other to meet several times during the course of the leg, the teams fought a close head-to-head race.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"Today showed that our drivers and co-drivers are taking the fight for victory at the Silk Way Rally very seriously and that they're fully motivated. The rally offers a good opportunity to prepare for the Dakar Rally from several perspectives: The driver pairings feel the competitive pressure, the technology of the four Race Touareg vehicles is being tested in racing conditions, and the engineers and mechanics practice all processes very carefully as well. Last night, for example, we completed a so-called "major service" which actually is scheduled only during the 'real' Dakar."
#100 - Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 4th place leg / 4th place overall
"The track today was both quick and tricky. The navigation is difficult since many similar branch-offs follow each other. Always finding exactly the right one is almost impossible. In terms of pace we played it safe while our team colleagues obviously were closer to the limit."
#101 - Carlos Sainz (E), 1st place leg / 2nd place overall
"Of course I'm happy about the stage win but we could have done better. We were the fourth vehicle to start, drove in the dust of our colleagues for a long time and were ultimately able to pass them - without a puncture and a detour we could have achieved the overall lead. Tomorrow we'll have to open the course which won't be an easy feat."
#103 - Mark Miller (USA), 3rd place leg / 3rd place overall
"That was a definitely a crazy day - at some point in time we were travelling behind and alongside each other with all four Race Touareg vehicles and were fighting for the lead. I caught Carlos and Nasser, chose a parallel track and passed them. At first we had a bit of an advantage after a directional change, but later they overtook us again."
#104 - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall
"I'm definitely happy with second place today; we're continuing to lead the overall standings. Today, things were very fast and tight but that's exactly what a rally is all about. Unfortunately, we had the third puncture in a row today and I'm hoping that this will have been our last one. Our Race Touareg continues running without any problems."
Coming up next--
After the route so far continuously went southwards the Volkswagen drivers are now going to head eastwards in order to cross one of the largest and most arid deserts in the world: the Karakuma desert. Consequently, the contenders will strictly be driving on sand. Soft trails, dunes galore and dry lakes characterise the 418-kilometre (345 kilometres of special stages) from Turkmenbahsi to Balkanabad. Sand storms, high temperatures and poor trails will also put extreme demands on the service crews.
The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on Eurosport
Friday, 11 Sep 09
13.15 - 13.30 Leg 6 (rerun)
01.15 - 01.30 Leg 7
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.