Good day for VW as they take top three places
Jan 3, 2006, 18:17 GMT
Quarzazate, Morocco [0x2013] Volkswagen achieved their best-ever stage results on Tuesday in the Lisbon-Dakar rally, placing three drivers in the top three positions in the overall standings.
Carlos Sainz, who on Monday lost the overall lead to Juan Roma, managed to win his third stage of this year's rally and regained the lead, taking a four minute 51 second lead over team-mate Bruno Saby.
Former winner Jutta Kleinschmidt, who in 2001 became the first female to win the rally, is a further 18 seconds behind.
The German said that she could have done even better had she not lost valuable time with tyre problems. [0x201c]It was a tough stage, but I am happy that we managed to gain some ground on the leaders.[0x201d]
Sainz won the 639 kilometre-long stage from Er Rachidia to Quarzazate with a two minute advantage over Schlesser-Ford[0x2019]s Thierry Magnaldi, while former French ski star Luc Alphand, who has twice won the race, finished three minute 10 seconds adrift.
With South African Giniel de Villiers (fifth) and American rookie Mark Miller (eighth), VW have five cars amongst the top eight.
In the motorbike section, Spanish KTM rider Isidre Esteve clocked the fastest time with four hours, 13 minutes and one second, to win the stage ahead of team mate Marc Coma and another KTM driver, De Gavardo.
Coma's second spot was good enough to see him move to first overall [0x2013] leading by four minutes 61 seconds from Esteve. Defending champion Cyril Despres is third.
The rally ends on January 16 in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. dpa ho adh ce© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur