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Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen driver Carlos Sainz about to win.

By clinching his third stage victory at the Silk Way Rally through Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz together with his co-driver Lucas Cruz (E/E) took the overall lead, thus heading for his fourth rally victory in the Race Touareg. The Volkswagen pairing Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), who had been leading up to now, suffered a setback: On the leg from Balkanabad to Turkmenbashi they drove into a dip at high speed and rolled over several times. Neither of them suffered any injuries but their Race Touareg was damaged. Al-Attiyah and Gottschalk repaired their 300-hp rally prototype and continued driving towards the finish at low speed.
The "Dakar” winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) clinched second place on the leg covering a total of 417 kilometres (345 kilometres of special stage) in front of Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and moved up to second and third place, respectively. As the final leg on Sunday – after a get-together of the participants with the minister presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijjan – will only cover 24 kilometres of special stage, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz practically have victory in their pocket. Their advantage over their team-mates amounts to more than 20 minutes.
Kris Nissen: "We’ve put the largest part of the Silk Way Rally, which we can regard as a clear success, behind us. The decision to use this new event to prepare for the Dakar Rally was right. The competitive stress for the drivers, co-drivers and the squad cannot be realistically simulated during tests. However, the most important news of the day is that Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk survived the roll-over unharmed. They’re now trying to reach the finish on their own power.”
Giniel de Villiers: "It was a good leg which closely resembled the Dakar Rally. It wasn’t just fast but also featured many tricky sections such as bumpy stretches. I enjoyed that. In the beginning we had a problem with inflation pressure on one of our tyres, so we stopped and added more air. Later, we caught up with Mark and Ralph and followed them – and took the same detour they did.”
Carlos Sainz: "At the beginning of the stage we took a detour which cost us about a minute. I then drove flat out to catch up with Nasser. At some point we caught up with him when he rolled over several times about one hundred metres in front of us. We stopped and saw that Nasser and Timo were okay. I feel sorry for them. However, the most important finding is still the fact that our cars functioned reliably and that our preparation for the ‘Dakar’ was successful.”
Mark Miller: "For me, this has so far been the nicest leg of the rally; it offered a good mix of various types of terrain. Up to the first check point we were running well but then we missed a way point with Giniel and Dirk following us. When we saw Nasser and Timo after their accident we ran out of steam as well. It’s bitter to see team-mates retire so shortly before the finish –- it’s a pity for them and their crew.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah had not reached the finish at the time of this release.

Standings after Leg 08, Balkanabad (TM) – Turkmenbashi (TM)
345,00 km/417,00 km SS 09/total
1 Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 3h 24m 05s (1), 24h 12m 21s
2 Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 3h 28m 50s (3), +21 m 52s
3 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 3h 28m 06s (2), +28 m 09s
4 Ruslan Misikov/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Nissan, 3h 59m 59s (6), +4h 44m 04s
5 Ilya Kuznetsov/ Andrey Neshin (RUS/RUS), Mitsubishi, 4h 03m 11s (7), +5h 23m 30s
6 Maris Saukans/Didzis Zarnis (LV/LV), OSC, 4h 10m 25s (9), +6h 06m 56s
7 Alexey Berkut/Konstantin Meshcheryakov (RUS/RUS), Mitsubishi, 3h 52m 27s (4), +6h 12m2 5s
8 Benediktas Vanagas/Saulius Jurgelenas (LT/LT), OSC, 4h 09m 26s (8), +6h 26m 11s
9 Raz Heymann/Hillel Segal (ISR/ISR), Mitsubishi, 4h 23m 15s (12), +8h 17m 35s
10 Bodgan Novytskyi/Iurii Kondratiiev (UKR/UKR), Mitsubishi, 5h 01m 28s (14), +10h 20m 01s

2009/09/12 | 18:16 CET | Editor: MR/Volkswagen/Rita Konya

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