After holding the top three positions overall at the end of Stage 6, the VW team suffered a disastrous Stage 7 in Mauritania, with the leading Touareg of de Villiers dropping to fourth after a navigational error. The lead was taken over by Mitsubishi's Luc Alphand, with second place now held by his teammate (and Stage 7 winner) Stephane Peterhansel.

The highest placing VW overall is piloted by Jutta Kleinshmidt in third despite multiple tire failures, less than 6 minutes off the lead, with the VW's of de Villiers and Sainz in fourth and fifth, respectively. Teammate Mark Miller (shown above in happier times in Stage 6) lost 2 hours 15 min. after rolling his Touareg.

No word on Robby Gordon's luck in Stage 7, but by the close of Stage 6, the big Hummer had climbed back to 27th overall, finishing 11th on the stage, after falling to 69th due to a transmission failure in Stage 4.

[Source: Team Dakar USA, Volkswagen Motorsport, dakar.com]

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