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Silk Way Rally: Volkswagen´s Giniel De Villiers wins 5th stage.

The "Dakar” winning duo Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) won the fifth stage of the Silk Way Rally through Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and thus reduced its gap in the overall standings. On the total of 480 kilometres through Kazahkstan from Beyneu to Janaozen it defeated its team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) by a razor-thin lead of seven seconds. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) finished with respective gaps of 2m 57s and 4m 13s.

The second-longest leg again featured high-speed driving across largely flat steppe terrain and confronted the co-drivers with the tough challenge of hard-to-detect trails. The order of the top four overall positions remains unchanged halfway through the Silk Way Rally: Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk extended their lead over Sainz/Cruz, while Miller/Pitchford and de Villiers/von Zitzewitz moved closer together again.
Kris Nissen: "With today’s leg we’ve completed about half the distance of the Silk Way Rally. All four Race Touareg vehicles are running in front and without any problems – we can be happy with that. But to actually win the rally, we’ve got to first reach Ashgabat. This continues to be our goal for the next four legs.” 
Giniel de Villiers: "I’m very happy with the stage win. The changes we made to the suspension set-up of the Race Touareg were clearly noticeable and my teamwork with Dirk in the cockpit is perfect as well. We’ve found our rhythm. Other than that, driving as fast as we could was what counted again today.”
Carlos Sainz: "The leg was largely flat and fast but also included a stony and twisty section towards the middle. Navigating was difficult, so we met our team colleagues again in between. After passing Nasser, we missed another branch-off and lost some time.”

Mark Miller: "The narrow outcome shows that all four Volkswagen teams again tried to give their very best. The fact that all of us got off the track more or less at the same places could not be attributed to our four co-drivers – the road-book just wasn’t perfect.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: "It was an interesting day. I caught Mark, hit a rock and had to stop for a tyre change. After that I attacked to make up the time again. When Mark and Carlos missed a branch-off, we were able to pass. Second place is an optimal result for Timo and me as we don’t half to open the course tomorrow.” 

Overall Standings after Leg 5, Beyneu (KZ) - Janaozen (KZ)

01) Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk (Q/D) I VW Race Touareg I 03:41:44
02) Sainz/Cruz (E/E) I VW Race Touareg I 03:45:50
03) Miller/Pitchford (USA/ZA) I VW Race Touareg I 03:44:34
04) De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) I VW Race Touareg I 03:41:37
05) Kahle/Schünemann (D/D) I Fast & Speed Honda I 04:23:59
06) Berkut/Meshcheryakov (RUS/RUS) I Mitsubishi MPR13 I 04:31:36
07) Errandonea/Garcin (F/F) I SMG Gache Buggy I 04:19:25
08) Misikov/Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I Nissan Navara I 04:26:34
09) Saukans/Zarnis (LV/LV) I OSC car I 04:32:08
10) Kuznetsov/Neshin (RUS/RUS) I Mitsubishi Pajero I 04:32:42

2009/09/09 | 13:48 CET | Editor: MR/Volkswagen/Rita Konya

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