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Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen quartet continues the lead.

Continuation of the team-internal duel: Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk won the third leg of the Silk Way Rally and extended their overall advantage over their immediate rivals, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, by about one minute. The two Volkswagen pairings fought a close battle for the stage result in their Race Touareg vehicles delivering about 300 hp. In the second section of the two special stages (117/114 km) they were separated by merely three seconds.

"The battle between Carlos and me is really good fun" said Al Attiyah. "Especially this morning we were able to really set a good pace and make up about one minute. In the second part Carlos and Lucas beat us by three seconds but even then I was very happy with our speed. I feel very comfortable in the Race Touareg alongside Timo and within the team."

His teammate Carlos Sainz added: "The first special stage in the morning was a little tricky, relatively dusty and full of bends. We completed it without any problems. The outcome of the second stage was very close; Nasser and Timo were just three seconds behind us. Tomorrow we´ll be driving the longest leg of the rally - that´ll be a very important day. Nasser gets to open the course and we aim to stay on his heels."

Giniel de Villers/Dirk von Zitzewitz and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford achieved places three and four and on positions four and three continue within striking distance of the front runners in the overall classification of some 50 cars. "All in all, the leg today was very quick and good to drive" De Villiers told. "In the beginning, visibility was very poor because there was almost no wind and the dust kicked up by the preceding cars was lingering in the air for a long time. Our Race Touareg was running like a charm, I´m happy."

The leg took the teams across a total distance of 548 kilometres from Bougourouslan in Russia to Oral, Kazakhstan (Russian: Uralsk) on quick, hilly stretches. The capital of the West Kazakhstan province is located on the geographical border between Europe and Asia. "I´m not satisfied with our stage result; we made a couple of minor mistakes which cost us some time" US-driver Mark Miller said. "Our car was running perfectly again today and we´re hoping to be able to use our chance of clinching a better result on the very long leg tomorrow."

Motorsport-Director Kris Nissen was satisfied with the Result. "The four Race Touareg vehicles ran as expected today: fast and reliable. Even though our lead appears comfortable, for the Silk Way Rally the same is true as for the Dakar: First of all, the rally itself has to be defeated. The really difficult legs are still ahead. We´ll stay focused, the decision remains thrilling."

Standings after Leg 03, Bougurouslan (RUS) - Uralsk (KZ)

01) Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk (Q/D) I VW Race Touareg I 02:06:47
02) Sainz/Cruz (E/E) I VW Race Touareg I 02:07:50
03) Miller/Pitchford (USA/ZA) I VW Race Touareg I 02:12:33
04) De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) I VW Race Touareg I 02:10:22
05) Lavieille/Polato (F/F) I Nissan Navara I 02:21:37
06) Kahle/Schuenemann (D/D) I Fast&SpeedHonda I 02:25:47
07) Berkut/Meshcheryakov (RUS/RUS) I Mitsubishi Pajero I 02:28:32
08) Errandonea/Garcin (F/F) I SMG Gache Buggy I 02:28:53
09) Biryukov/Kniga (RUS/BY) I Mitsubishi Pajero I 02:24:56
10) Misikov/Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I Nissan Navara I 02:28:16

2009/09/07 | 15:31 CET | Editor: MR/HS/S.Moser

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