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Central Europe Rally Special-Newssection (1st round Dakar-Series 2008)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Central Europe Rally 2008, the first round of the new Dakar-Series. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Central Europe Rally: Carlos Sainz second overall thanks to third leg win.

Thrilling battle for seconds on leg five of the Central Europe Rally: in the fight for the overall win, Volkswagen works drivers Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) made a major step forward by leaping up from fifth to second position. On the way to their third leg win - the fifth for the Race Touareg 2 in this rally and its 66th altogether - Sainz/Périn reduced the lead of current leader Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by more than three and a half minutes. Prior to the final two legs, the Volkswagen pairing lies just 22 seconds behind the leading Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi).

By finishing fifth in today´s loop starting and finishing in Veszprem, Hungary, Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) also kept their great chances alive - despite having suffered a tyre puncture. The German pairing holds fourth position, about three minutes behind the front-runner. Meanwhile Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D) in the Race Touareg entered by customer team Lagos gained three positions to now hold sixth place in the overall rankings, with five days of the rally contested.

At the same time, Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D) encountered cruel luck on the fast 210-kilometre leg - the longest of the Central Europe Rally to date. On a deep bump that wasn´t noted in the road-book, the rear of the car got airborne and the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 of the previously second placed pairing somersaulted, with driver and co-driver surviving the crash unharmed. However, the incident put an end to the rally for the South African-German duo. On Friday, the drivers will have to contest another two special stages with a total distance of about 200 kilometres and on Saturday, this new event on the Cross Country Rally calendar will end with its seventh leg in Balatonfüred.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director): "The most important news for Volkswagen: Giniel de Villiers und Dirk von Zitzewitz are in good health, following their massive accident. A fact demonstrating that the drivers also can fully rely on the safety features of the Race Touareg. In terms of the sporting action, we can be delighted with the leg win of Carlos Sainz as he succeeded in reducing the lead of Stéphane Peterhansel considerably. Now, he is just seconds behind and I´m confident that we will be able to keep on battling it out for the win."

Carlos Sainz (E): "Quite obviously, I´m very happy with our achievements as it was a really good day for us. Our Race Touareg runs as reliable as a Swiss watch. And, far more important: the handling of our car is just great. Lying merely 22 seconds behind the leader, we are in a promising position now. Hence, our order for final two days will be: maximum attack."

Carlos Sousa (P): "Altogether, our day was okay - despite some trifles costing us some time, again. There´s nothing you can do about it: in this rally, things don´t run perfectly for us - but quite alright. Still: I´m quite happy with the result of this leg."

Dieter Depping (D): "The day began really well and on the first long special stage, we gained some time, compared to the front-runners. Unfortunately, we suffered a puncture in the second stage that, apart from this incident, suited us well, with its woody sections. To change the wheel cost us two minutes and one position in the overall standings. I´ll keep on obliviously driving my pace on the two final days as finishing fourth in my first rally at the wheel of the Race Touareg would be a nice result. But who knows? Perhaps, we can do even better."

Giniel de Villiers (RSA): "A big compliment to Volkswagen. The Race Touareg is an extremely safe car. Despite having somersaulted six times today, myself and my co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz survived the incident absolutely unharmed - apart from having made slight contact with the car, several times. On a bump, the rear got airborne and the car somersaulted over its front. It was neither a driving nor a navigation mistake but just bad luck. Other competitors also had their difficulties there. It´s a real pity as things went well for us up to this point. After all, we were the quickest when crossing the first check point."

2008/04/24 | 20:15 CET | Editor: MR/MR/Volkswagen

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