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UAE Desert Challenge 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the UAE Desert Challenge 2007, last round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

UAE Desert Challenge: Carlos Sainz wins Cross-Country Rally World Cup.

Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz (Spain) and co-driver Michel Périn (France) have won the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup 2007.* The factory pairing in the Volkswagen Race Touareg secured the title by finishing the UAE Desert Challenge with start and finish in Dubai as the runner-up. In addition, Volkswagen Motorsport achieved the title win in the team classification.

While the two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz won the highest-calibre championship in cross-country rally sport for the first time, for his co-driver Michel Périn – after 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2005 – this marks the sixth FIA title in the co-drivers classification.

On the last, 268-kilometre leg of the season’s finale in the Middle East, the second Volkswagen factory duo, Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Germany), clinched a stage victory to finish third overall. In the World Cup they finished the season as the runner-up, behind their team-mates Sainz/Périn.

Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz, who had come to the United Arab Emirates as the leader of the standings, had been running in front some of the time during the UAE Desert Challenge’s fourth of five legs, but then lost 18 minutes after getting stuck in the sand. On the final stage, he claimed a third-place finish.

The title win crowns a successful season for Volkswagen Motorsport: at the Transibérico Rally Carlos Sainz together with Michel Périn celebrated his first victory in cross-country rally sport. At their second World Cup event of the season in Morocco the Volkswagen factory team achieved a double victory by Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz and Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn in September. For the Race Touareg powered by a 280-hp 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine, the title in the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup already marks the second win of a championship after Bruno Saby and Michel Périn’s exploit in 2005. The prototpye’s tally since 2004 now shows seven overall victories, 61 stage wins and 54 days of leading an event in a total of 20 competitions.

* Subject to confirmation by the FIA

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director): "This is a fantastic conclusion of a long season. With Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers, we captured the top two places in the Cross-Country Rally World Cup. During the entire season the team did a superb job. We contested the season’s finale with two Race Touareg vehicles, and both finished the round – against very strong competitors. I am convinced that we have not seen such a thrilling World Cup in years. That we were so successful in the end is particularly rewarding for us as a team. This has been our best UAE Desert Challenge. Now we are going to prepare intensively for the Dakar Rally in January.”

Carlos Sainz (E): "I’m happy, and I’m delighted for the whole team. This is another valuable success for Volkswagen – and a well-deserved reward for the entire squad. The UAE Desert Challenge was a tough rally, with hot and trying conditions. For me, personally, this title is very special: twice I’ve been World Rally Champion, but this is my first title win in cross-country rally sport.”

Michel Périn (F): "We won the World Cup, that was our primary goal. Added to this is second place in the UAE Desert Challenge. This rally was a small ‘Dakar’, a very difficult and long event with strong competitors. This makes us all the happier about having achieved such a good result.”

Giniel de Villiers (RSA): "Sincere congratulations to Carlos Sainz and Michel Périn! For Dirk and myself, it was also good to come here and to test our car for the Dakar. We achieved this objective. It’s been a nice event. Perhaps we’d been hoping for a better result, but we’re satisfied. I finished an event for the first time here.”

Dirk von Zitzewitz (D): "It was a good test in the sand. The rally was well organised. From the co-driver’s perspective, the challenge was not that big as we had a lot of aids available to us through the GPS, which we do not have during the Dakar. Nevertheless, it was a good thing to contest this event because you can always learn something new. You try to understand the dunes and judge how hard the sand is and what it looks like there. On Thursday we had a lesson in teamwork when we helped Carlos after he got stuck in the sand. The last two days placated us, we’re pleased about our stage victory.”

2007/11/02 | 20:36 CET | Editor: MR/Volkswagen/Rita Konya

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