|Dakar 2010: Mark Miller happy after his first Dakar Stage-Win.|
Volkswagen took the lead on the so far longest and toughest special stage of the Dakar Rally: As many as three Race Touareg vehicles are setting the pace at the front of the field after five days, both in the stage and overall classifications. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz are leading the cross-country classic with an advantage of 4:37 mns. Runners-up are their team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk, followed with a gap of 9:39 by Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford who celebrated their first ever stage win at the Dakar Rally.
"My first stage victory at the Dakar" told Mark Miller. "Today reminded me a little of the film "Days of Thunder" - I didn´t feel like I was particularly fast, but the others were slower. Today was about avoiding punctures, and we managed avoiding them. In addition, my co-driver Ralph Pitchford did a top-notch job of navigating. But we only saw a snapshot today. There´s still a lot of work to be done."
Another bad day for Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz: "It seems like we´re attracting bad luck this year. Bad for us - good for the team if the situation continued that way. Today we failed to notice a diagonal rut from a motorcycle rider in an off-road section in the dust and fully hit it, breaking a bolt of one of the front hub carriers in the process. The repair of the ball joint that was affected by the incident took very long. But that wasn´t all: Afterwards we got stuck in the dust of a Kamaz truck and then, to top things off, had two punctures. For Dirk and me, helping the team as much as possible is definitely all that counts any more."
Carlos Sainz: "An extremely hard and long day on which almost nothing went wrong, actually. The Race Touareg was running like clockwork. Unfortunately, though, we damaged the right rear tyre on a stone about 100 kilometres before the finish. There was a big risk of that happening today. By finishing today´s special stage as the runners-up we took the overall lead. That´s why I´m more than pleased. I´m happy for my team-mate Mark Miller having won the stage."
Nasser Al-Attiyah: "Today, Timo and I were busy containing damage. Unfortunately, we suffered a puncture in an attempt to overtake Stéphane Peterhansel because we drove across a large stone. That was right at the beginning of the special, so we were cautious in the middle section because we only had one spare tyre left. We attacked only towards the end and were able to make up some time that way."
Maurício Neves: "A demanding stage with large scree fields and an impressive landscape. Unlike many others we were able to avoid punctures. That´s why I´m more than happy with the stage result today - particularly because my co-driver Clécio Maestrelli did a very good job of navigating me today."
2010/01/06 | 23:15 CET | Editor: MR/HS/VW/S.Moser