Works driver Jutta Kleinschmidt and the Volkswagen Team have delivered a spirited performance at the Dakar Rally: To begin with the mechanics revived the engine, which had ingested water at an unusually deep river crossing, during a nightshift enabling Jutta Kleinschmidt to resume the competition in 112th at five o'clock in the morning. Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons overtook 70 cars and 40 trucks during the 701 kilometre long special stage fighting up to a provisional tenth position before damaging a hydraulic line in a pot hole. As a result, Kleinschmidt had to complete the remaining 170 kilometres without power assisted steering which also resulted in the loss of approximately one hour as did getting stuck in the fine desert sand on one occasion. The 2001 Dakar winner reached the finish in Atar (Mauritania) in 15th position. It is however not possible to make up the deficit in the overall classification, as the stewards have imposed a provisional time penalty of 10 hours 55 minutes for being towed and leaving the route yesterday. In the second Race-Touareg, Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson improved two positions to eleventh place overall thanks to twelfth fastest time. They would have recorded a top ten result if they had not lost more than one hour due to three tyre failures and a faulty cooling fan.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
One simply can not praise Jutta's performance enough. To overtake so many vehicles without power assisted steering in the sand and at night - I'm really very impressed. Bruno is also going really well and the top ten is looming up.”
Bruno Saby (#224)
"Extreme sand dune crossings, an erg, flour like sand - the seventh stage was not only the longest but also the most difficult up till now. In spite of the tyre failures and the loss of time we are more than satisfied with the result.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204)
"The team performed miracles after the water damage. It ran very well from the word go, and we made up ground quickly. Unfortunately we had to work very hard at the end without power assisted steering in the sand. We are happy to be at the finish.”