Dakar 2011: Nasser Al-Attiyah attacks and gives Volkswagen a 1-2 lead

Dakar 2011: Nasser Al-Attiyah attacks and gives Volkswagen a 1-2 lead

Link to oneighturbo.com

Dakar 2011: Nasser Al-Attiyah attacks and gives Volkswagen a 1-2 lead

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 03:32 PM PST

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk improved to position two overall

Gallery after the jump!

Volkswagen is leading the Dakar Rally after the third of 13 stages with two Race Touareg 3 cars. With a strong showing Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) improved to position two overall. The duo took the stage win on the 731-kilometre leg with a 25-second advantage over their Volkswagen team colleagues Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E).

On the route from San Miguel de Tucumán to San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina the Spaniards only needed a second-place stage result to maintain their lead. Sainz/Cruz have been the front runners since the start of the world’s toughest rally and now have an advantage of 3m 34s. The two other Volkswagen squads in the field had a good day as well. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) consolidated their fourth place overall by finishing today’s special in fifth place. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), who lost 52m 26s due to a rollover yesterday, were part of the action at the front of the field again. The feat of repairing the vehicle performed by the Volkswagen mechanics was rewarded with a sixth-place finish today.

The stage led across quick gravel passages in open terrain, through canyons and pastureland. Bushes and trees obscured the vision of the teams on the second part of the special stage which took them to the edges of the jungle. The drivers and co-drivers had to watch out for plenty of stones along the route and be careful not to damage the vehicle.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“At the moment three drivers are running in a league of their own: the two Volkswagen factory drivers Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz plus X-raid driver Stéphane Peterhansel. Giniel de Villiers is driving in a good rhythm as well. I’m particularly proud of the team performance that has made it possible for Mark Miller to clinch a nice stage result today. The whole team deserves huge praise for this feat. His car was not looking good at all after his excursion yesterday. The mechanics and technicians – including those who support the other vehicles – all joined in and lent a helping hand. This allowed us to achieve a good team result. But we also know that in view of the whole rally distance we haven’t even finished the hors d’oeuvres yet. But the taste has been very much to our liking so far.”

#300 – Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall
“Today we had a difficult leg on our agenda. Opening the stage as the winner of the previous day was difficult because we had no tracks to go by for orientation. That’s why we decided to drive with caution. After the neutralisation distance we attacked a little more and managed to make up some of the time we lost in the first part. All in all, it was a good day – but the Dakar Rally actually just starts tomorrow in earnest, with the legs in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Nothing has been decided yet. The front runners are extremely close to each other. Just a small mistake can turn the order upside down.”

#302 – Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 1st place leg / 2nd place overall
“It was a good day for me and my co-driver Timo Gottschalk, who did a superb job. We were able to make up time to our team colleague Carlos Sainz in the first part of the stage but then lost some ground again in the second one. Still, we managed to clinch the stage win and this meant that I was able to make my first contribution in 2011 to the nice tradition of the Volkswagen team where every team member is treated to ice cream for a stage victory. I’m hoping there’ll be more.”

#304 – Mark Miller (USA), 6th place leg / 12th place overall
“Today was about achieving a good time in order to move forwards again into the group of front runners, and we managed to do that. It was a tough job because starting from a position relatively far at the rear was definitely no fun today. But we were able to overtake two or three cars right at the beginning. The dust, though, made it difficult to get close enough to the front. In addition, my sentinel system that is used to warn the cars in front failed in the middle of the special stage. That made things even more complicated. Considering all this, we’re more than happy with the result.”

#308 – Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 5th place leg / 4th place overall
“It was one of the nicest ‘Dakar’ legs I’ve ever experienced. I think we saw a little of any scenery the world has to offer today: desert, woods, jungle. That was an incredibly fascinating landscape. In terms of our sporting performance we made a good start into the special and found a good rhythm. Unfortunately, we lost some ground again on the second part of the two stages. We’ve got to analyse why that was the case.”

Related posts:

  1. Dakar 2011: Carlos Sainz leads a thunderstorm riddled first leg

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