Volkswagen holds one-two lead after third stage
Wolfsburg (04 January 2011). Volkswagen is leading the Dakar Rally after the third of 13 stages with two Race Touareg cars. With a strong showing Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) improved to position two overall. The duo took the stage win on the 731-kilometre leg with a 25-second advantage over their Volkswagen team colleagues Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E).
On the route from San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina the Spaniards only needed a second-place stage result to maintain their lead. Sainz/Cruz have been the front runners since the start of the world's toughest rally and now have an advantage of 3m 34s. The two other Volkswagen squads in the field had a good day as well. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) consolidated their fourth place overall by finishing today's special in fifth place. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), who lost 52m 26s due to a rollover yesterday, were part of the action at the front of the field again. The feat of repairing the vehicle performed by the Volkswagen mechanics was rewarded by a sixth-place finish today.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"At the moment three drivers are running in a league of their own: the two Volkswagen factory drivers Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz plus X-raid driver Stephane Peterhansel. Giniel de Villiers is driving in a good rhythm as well. I'm particularly proud of the team performance that has made it possible for Mark Miller to clinch a nice stage result today. The whole team deserves huge praise for this feat. His car was not looking good at all after his excursion yesterday. The mechanics and technicians - including those who support the other vehicles - all joined in and lent a helping hand. This allowed us to achieve a good team result. But we also know that in view of the whole rally distance we haven't even finished the hors d'oeuvres yet. But the taste has been very much to our liking so far."