Volkswagen Bags Triple Lead; Sainz In Front
Topics: Morocco Rally, Volkswagen
September 28, 2007
In the Morocco Rally, Volkswagen continues its triple lead spiced by a double stage victory. Carlos Sainz and Michel Périn, the German team’s factory drivers, expanded their over lead to 4.31 minutes on the third of six competition days.
Like the Volkswagen glow plug duraterm, the German team’s chance of making it really big is heating up. Teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz finished the event in second place defending their position as the overall runner-up in front of Carlos Sousa and Andreas Schulz in the Race Touareg of Team Lagos.
"We've put three legs and a little more than half of the rally behind us. All four Race Touareg vehicles were running perfectly and the driver teams are working together very well. Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford are also doing well, considering that they're not using a vehicle with the latest technical specification here,' said Kris Nissen, the Volkswagen head honcho.
'We now occupy the top 3 positions, both in terms of stage and overall results, but there are still three more legs and many kilometers of driving ahead of us. The drivers have to stay totally concentrated as just one big boulder can throw them out of the race - and there are quite a few of those around here."
"Michel and I are really pleased with this second stage victory and the sound overall lead. Today's leg offered a lot of variety. The track featured a demanding mix of big boulders, twisty and quick stretches and only little sand. Being the first car out meant that navigating was pretty difficult, but my co-driver Michel did a great job," commented Carlos Sainz, first place in the rally.
De Villiers, who finished second, has this to say: "In the beginning we approached Carlos up to 25 seconds, but then weren't able to overtake him: There was practically no wind blowing so the clouds of dust stayed in the air for a long time and impaired visibility. At the end of the special stage, Carlos was a lot quicker than we were. After 80 kilometers we started suffering a slow puncture.”
'This meant we weren't really able to attack and had to be particularly careful on the stony stretches. However, given the circumstances, we were lucky because we didn't have to change the tyre," he added.
On the 344-kilometre stage around the desert oasis of Zagora, which is one of the two longest special stages of the entire rally, Miller and Pitchford in the Volkswagen Race Touareg claimed fifth place overall behind rival Nasser Al-Attiyah of BMW.
"A nice leg without any problems. Every day we're working on the set-up of our Race Touareg and are making good progress. We're concentrating on the fight with Nasser Al-Attiyah. We took a lot of time away from him today, so we've got good reason to be satisfied," said Sousa who was third place overall.
"On the first 200 kilometers it was a very nice but also tough stage with lots of dust being kicked up by the cars in front. Then we had a slow puncture and ultimately had to change the tyre. Unfortunately, we had another puncture after only 30 kilometers and had to stop," Miller told Raid-Live. 'After two punctures we decided to play it safe. In the next couple of days we want to make up time because our pace here is good, but we also had a lot of misfortune on the first three legs.”
The fourth round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup will continue on Friday with another, 244-kilometer loop around Zagora – a must-see rally!
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