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Optic Tunisia: Volkswagen´s Kris Nissen: We want to win here.

"We want to win here, that’s why we would have rather seen two blue cars at the front" said today Volkswagen´s Motorsport Director Kris Nissen after the first Leg of the Optic Tunisia Rally 2006. Volkswagen holds third and fourth positions with its works drivers Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz after the Tunisian Rally’s first desert stage. The brace of Race Touareg 2 prototypes proved to be faultless during the first stage between Ras El Oued and Nekrif, which was dominated by sand storms.

"It was a hard and hot day, which was dominated by the huge amounts of sand and dust. The cars ran without any technical problem whatsoever, that’s why we are satisfied with the situation at the moment. The gap to Mitsubishi is solely due to the tyre failures" said Nissen.

Giniel de Villiers and his new co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz recorded the third fastest time after suffering two tyre failures on the 326 kilometre stage and are only 3:28 minutes behind the new leader Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi). Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Michel Périn, winners of the prologue on Sunday in Nice, crossed the finish line in fourth place only 42 seconds behind their team mates. On the second of seven stages on Wednesday, a 327 kilometre loop with both the start and finish in Nekrif is on the agenda.

"We lost a lot of time today because of a tyre failure; we had to stop again afterwards because the hydraulic car jack hadn’t returned to its stowing position correctly" told Spaniard Carlos Sainz after the stage, "this is why Luc Alphand overtook us on the road, but we were able to re-take the position after 150 kilometres".

South African Giniel de Villiers also had problems with his tyres: "Today’s stage was very demanding technically at the start, but it got rougher and was very fast at the end. My Race Touareg ran perfectly, it was just the two slow punctures that cost us time. The visibility was impeded by a sand storm in the last 100 kilometres - however, these conditions were the same for every team."

2006/04/11 I 00:15 CET I Editor:

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