A clear overall result of the Transsyberia Rally shows that Porsche is the 2008 star of the race since it obtained the first six positions and nine vehicles of top ten were Porsche. Declared winners of the rally with two hours of advantage over the second place are Lavielle and Borsotto from Team France. “We are so happy to have won such an extremely tough rally. Right from the start the Transsyberia ran so well for us that we could ease back the pace over the last three days. I’m amazed what our Cayenne withstood over the last 7,000 kilometres” said Lavielle.
The massive battle was driven between Schwarz/Schulz couple and Soler/Peinado, both teams aiming for the second place. Pulling its best with the 385hp Cayenne Schwarz/Schulz team was still not enough to surpass the six minute advantage of the Spaniards. Soler/Peinado maintained their second position and the team of Germany 1 achieved the third place.
Porsche has won the Transsyberia Rally for the third time in succession. After its double victory in 2006 and triple victory in 2007, the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia has now secured the first six positions. Of the top ten vehicles, nine were Porsche. A clear overall win went to Team France with Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto, who put in constantly fast times and made no mistakes. After clocking up more than 7,000 kilometres the duo held a two hour advantage over the second place-getter.
At the finish in Ulaanbaatar, Christian Lavieille beamed: “We are so happy to have won such an extremely tough rally. Right from the start the Transsyberia ran so well for us that we could ease back the pace over the last three days. We didn’t drive flat-out today as we had built up over an hour’s gap to our closest opponent. I’m amazed what our Cayenne withstood over the last 7,000 kilometres. When you think of it, apart from a few minor modifications, it’s a standard vehicle. Over the entire distance we only had to change the shock absorbers once. When I compare that to other rally vehicles it’s almost unbelievable.”
Spectators on the final stage experienced a real showdown. Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz from Team Germany 1 had taken up the 87 kilometre stage with a 13 minute gap to the second placed Team Spain. Schwarz pulled out all stops and flew with his 385 hp Cayenne over the fast tracks near Mongol Els, overtaking nine vehicles. But it was not enough to catch the Spaniards. With less than a six minute advantage, Pau Soler and Laia Peinado defended their second position. Soler breathed a sigh of relief at the finish: “We were under extreme pressure today. We knew that Armin would drive full tilt and it would be a close fight for second. I kept asking Laia how far we were from the finish. I never took my eyes off the rear vision mirror. Finally, second was ours. The competition at this year’s rally was fierce and very exhausting. We are very proud to be second.”
Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz celebrated their sixth leg win and demonstrated again that they would have been far up in the rankings had it not been for the time penalties. No other team was able to secure as many leg victories as the Germans. “On this special stage there was no chance to make up the 13 minutes separating us from the Spaniards. Overtaking manoeuvres seemed impossible. Still, we were able to pass all opponents today. It cost us a lot of time waiting for the right moment to get past. More than another leg win was simply not possible,” summarised Schwarz. “Still, despite this, I’m happy to climb the podium with Andi.”
Second in today’s classification went to Team Russia 1 with Denis Levyatov and Sergey Talantsev. The pair finished six minutes behind Schwarz/Schulz. Reason enough for Levyatov to be satisfied: “Today’s special stage was the first where we had no problems. We found the right way and the car ran perfectly. Had all days been like this we would have been more than happy. But what counts is that we’ve finished. When you cross that finish line you are always happy.”
Further comments from Porsche pilots at the finish:
Pedro Gameiro (Team Portugal): “The rally was fantastic. An awesome experience! After the first special stage we were in the lead and held this position almost until Mongolia. But unfortunately it wasn’t a one week rally but one that still had a long way to go to Ulaanbaatar. We experienced problems with navigating in the second half of the rally. Still, my co-driver Pedro did a great job. To take third overall amongst so many top teams is fantastic. As far as our Cayenne is concerned I’m very happy. Driving this car is huge fun.”
Christian Pfeil-Schneider (Colombian Arrow): “We drove cautiously today and didn’t wager an attack. We were an hour behind our closest rival and had two hours advantage over our closest pursuer. After not reaching the finish in Ulaanbaatar last year I’m a very pleased man today. The rally was tough again this year. Our Cayenne has conquered this adventure twice now and got through without any major problems. My co-driver Thomas Steuer is one reason why we did so well. He navigated me for the first time. I also have to thank Porsche Latin America and our parents for their support.”
Dave Morley (Team Australia): “The 2008 Transsyberia was progress for us. We reached the finish – with our Cayenne. We’re thrilled about this. Above all, such a success is a real relief. We really wanted to finish the rally. The reason this worked was due to a sentence that we have repeated many times this year: Never give up!”
Carles Celma (Team Germany 2): “This year’s rally was harder and more demanding than last year. The vehicles had to withstand extreme stresses in parts. Moreover, the competition this year was tougher. There were many in the field who could easily have won. The key to success again lay in precise navigation. Our aim was to finish in the top five, but we had a lot of bad luck. We’re happy to have reached the finish and that our Cayenne survived the ordeal.”
Hirohisa Kaneko (Team Japan): “Just before the finish we took a completely wrong turn. Suddenly we saw flags in our rear vision mirror and turned around. But there are worse things. We’re pleased to have made it. Above all we didn’t have any accidents and stayed healthy. This is the most important thing over such a long distance. We very much enjoyed this year’s Transsyberia Rally.”
The Transsyberia Rally started on 11th July on Moscow’s Red Square and finished on 25th July in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar after a total of over 7,000 kilometres.
Final overall classification Transsyberia Rally 2008
1. Lavieille/Borsotto Team France Porsche 27:13.27 hrs
2. Soler/Peinado Team Spain Porsche 2:15.25 hrs behind
3. Schwarz/Schulz Team Germany 1 Porsche 2:21.14
4. Gameiro/Figueiredo Team Portugal Porsche 2:54.36
5. Levyatov/Talantsev Team Russia 1 Porsche 3:53.15
6. Celma/Unger Team Germany 2 Porsche 8:18.55
7. Baier/Steinbring Teambuctou Toyota 9:49.40
8. Pfeil-Schneider/Steuer Colombian Arrow Porsche 10:59.13
9. Szustkowski/Kazberuk STT Racing Porsche 13:19.33
10. Ogawa/Kaneko Team Japan Porsche 21:52.18