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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: Volkswagen works driver Sainz takes the lead.

Next chapter in the cross-country rallying thriller: with their fourth leg win, Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) have taken the lead in the Central Europe Rally. In the penultimate of the seven legs, the Volkswagen works drivers successfully continued their chase by securing their third consecutive leg win. In the past days, the pairing gained more than eight minutes on their opponent Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi). With six of the seven legs contested, Sainz/Périn, the overall 2007 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winners have taken the lead but lie just 18 seconds ahead of the second placed car. At the same time, another success story also was continued in the leg held around Veszprem (Hungary): having prevailed six times in the six legs contested to date, the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 remains undefeated, in the Central Europe Rally.

Just like their fellow Volkswagen drivers, Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) also gained a position in the overall standings and hold third place, now. Despite having suffered a puncture in the first of the day´s two special stages, the German pairing displaced Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi). And the battle for third position is just as close as the one for the lead. Prior to the final day, the lead of Depping/Gottschalk over their fourth-placed rival amounts to just seven seconds. Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D) also gained a position in the overall rankings and will start into tomorrow´s final leg from fifth position. So, all the three Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 still involved in the rally hold top-five positions.

With its distance of 210 kilometres, the penultimate leg of the Central Europe Rally, starting and ending in Veszprem (Hungary), represented the longest section of the event. The gravel roads and fast woody sections were extremely demanding for both drivers and cars. In addition, the final 155-kilometre leg held on Saturday - from Veszprem to Balatonfüred on Lake Balaton - features a similar characteristic.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director): "This is the arguably most thrilling rally we ever have been involved in. I´m proud of the Race Touareg having won all the six stages contested to date. This is a proof of both the car´s competitiveness and the great job done by the entire team. While the fact that Carlos Sainz and Dieter Depping have gained time again today, thus giving Volkswagen the lead, demonstrates that we also were did a good job when it comes to our driver choice."

Carlos Sainz (E): "What an enthralling rally! The gaps at the top of the field are extremely small, even smaller than witnessed in some of the sprint rallies. The Race Touareg once again was perfect, today, thus helping me to secure my fourth leg win. Still, we had to work hard in the car for realising this success: in this rally, you have to go flat out right from the start up to the very last minute. But I will be able to sleep well, tonight, as I know that I can fully rely on my team and co-driver Michel Périn, in the final leg on Saturday."

Carlos Sousa (P): "We succeeded in gaining a position today as we go our pace consistently without taking too many risks. Our fifth position is the result of a tactic we should keep on pursuing until the rally is over. We are totally happy with the Race Touareg and its set-up. The handling is perfect and I have a lot of trust in the car."

Dieter Depping (D): "Despite our puncture, we successfully pressurised Luc Alphand, today, and displaced him in the overall rankings. A seven-second lead isn´t much but now I want to defend our third position in the final leg. And I´m confident that we will succeed in doing so should we be able to keep on going our pace as we´ve done to date. Particularly if my co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, continues to navigate as faultlessly as he has done so far."

2008/04/22 | 23:01 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Volkswagen

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