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Morocco Rally: Sainz leads de Villiers by 8 seconds.

The Morocco Rally World Cup round goes down to the wire. Volkswagen factory drivers Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France) will take a slim eight-second lead over team mates Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany) into Sunday’s final leg of the fourth round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. During Saturday’s leg from Zagora to Ouarzazate - at 546 kilometres the longest - Sainz/Périn drove the Race Touareg 2 to their third stage-victory to take the overall lead once again.

The two-time Rally World Champion was also in front of the pack on day two and three. In third place behind de Villiers/von Zitzewitz were Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz in the Team Lagos Race Touareg 2. Sousa/Schulz are sitting in fourth place in the overall standings ahead of the Volkswagen factory team of Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa). The Morocco Rally will wrap up on Sunday with the sixth and final leg, a 222-kilometre stretch through the Atlas Mountains around Ouarzazate.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director): "Only eight seconds. Such a small lead will make it exciting, whether Carlos Sainz or Giniel de Villiers takes home the trophy after the last stage on Sunday. Giniel suffered a damaged tyre today and in addition the power steering went out from time to time. We’re not too worried about it, because his Race Touareg has already put in thousands of kilometres during test driving in Tunisia and even more during this rally. We’re obviously going to look at the defect closely. Carlos Sousa and Mark Miller had great rides today as well."

Carlos Sainz: "A good stage today. We’re happy about our third stage victory. It was a versatile challenge with sand, fast sections, bumpy terrain, huge rocks and curvy stretches in the mountains - a perfect opportunity to prepare for Dakar. With a lead of only eight seconds over our team mates, the final stage on Sunday will certainly be thrilling."

Giniel de Villiers: "At the beginning, we drove part of Friday’s route in the opposite direction. We developed a good rhythm and were moving fast. Unfortunately one of the tyres gradually lost air and we had to change it before the mountains. Then the power steering didn’t fully function for 150 kilometres. The narrow and curvy mountain stretches demand a lot of strength, which made it tough."

Mark Miller: "We drove full speed for the first 100 kilometres, as fast as our Race Touareg can go. We didn’t make any mistakes. Afterwards the route was rocky and hard. We drove carefully over this stretch to keep from experiencing tyre damage. Right before the finish, one of the vehicles in front of us loosened some rocks that ended up blocking the route. Otherwise, it was a nice and smooth stage."

Carlos Sousa: "Today was really an interesting and tough test. We already had the chance to drive it during the Dakar Rally. We only lost a few seconds because of the dust behind Nasser Al-Attiyah. We did a good job of closing the gap to third place in the overall standings."

Standings after stage 5, Zagora (MA) – Ouarzazate (MA); 344/546 km stage 5/total

1. Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h28m48s (1st); 14h31m29s
2. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h32m23s (2nd) + 8s
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Alain Guehennec (QA/F); BMW X3 CC; 3h42m33s (4th) + 31m54s
4. Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h35m39s (3rd) + 37m39s
5. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h49m06s (5th) + 1h17m34s
6. Dominique Housieaux/Jean-M. Polato (F/F); Schlesser; 3h56m22s (8th) + 1h48m17s
7. Paulo Nobre/Filipe Palmeiro (BR/P); BMW X3 CC; 3h52m10s (6th) + 3h00m43s
8. Lukasz Komornicki/Rafal Marton (PL/PL); SMG; 4h04m28s (10th) + 3h23m32s
9. Jose Luis Monterde/Jean-M. Lurquin (E/B); Schlesser; 3h59m19s (9th) + 3h33m18s
10. Kenjiro Shinozuka/Roberto di Persio (J/I); Nissan Pathfinder; 4h24m08s (11th) + 3h57m49s

2007/09/30 | 12:05 CET | Editor: MR/Volkswagen Motorsport/Rita Konya

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