Together with her co-driver Fabrizia Pons, Volkswagen works driver Jutta Kleinschmidt fought for and snatched second place on the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally after a fantastic drive. The 2001 Dakar winner clearly demonstrated the potential of the Race-Touareg, celebrating its competition debut on the Dakar, and which was developed in the record time of seven months. Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson crossed the finish line in the second Race-Touareg at Tidjikja/Mauritania in tenth place and improved to ninth overall.
Jutta Kleinschmidt will continue the Dakar Rally on Friday, after Volkswagen lodged an appeal against the exclusion imposed by the stewards. After the water damage on Tuesday, when the engine ingested water during an unexpectedly deep river crossing, the mechanics were able to repair the power unit in double quick time enabling Jutta Kleinschmidt to reach the night start of the seventh stage on time. Several components were swapped completely due to the lack of time including the sealed engine block. The technical scrutineers were informed instantly of this and, furthermore, the entire course of events was documented immediately. The new sealing was carried out only on Thursday.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"We have appealed against the exclusion, because according to our interpretation of the regulations the fitment of a new lead seal is explicitly allowed. Irrespective of these discussions it was a good day. Second place for Jutta is magnificent and shows that we are on the right road with the Race-Touareg.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204)
"I'm very happy. Second place feels good and shows just exactly what the Race-Touareg and we are capable of. A big thank you also goes to Fabrizia for the perfect navigation today. Only a tyre failure cost us a little time not far from the finish.”
Bruno Saby (#224)
"This stage was very hard in every conceivable way. You had to drive very carefully. As a result, the average speed was relatively low. The pace will be a little quicker during the second part of this marathon stage on Friday.”