Al-Attiyah Wins Stage 3, Sainz Increases Dakar Lead
The Qatar driver pulled ahead of the pack by the first check point on yesterday's stage, but a puncture caused him a loss of time for the second part of the day to eventually finish only 35 seconds ahead of overall leader Carlos Sainz. Dieter Depping came in third at Jacobacci, but that didn't affect the overall classification too much, as the Volkswagen driver rests more than a hour behind Sainz in the Dakar standings.
“Today, I had to attack. I lost a lot of time in yesterday's stage so I had to take that into account and push hard during this special stage. So I drove fast and passed Terranova, then Miller, etc. And eventually, 80 km before the finish, I even passe a bike who went astray towards the left at the same time so I avoided him and ran flat. We lost about 3 min changing the tyre but then we drove on as fast as ever,” said Al-Attiyah after the stage.
“It's good we are here (at the finish) and the car is working very well. I think we did a good job today. We're taking care of the car because it's a long rally, but I think one day we must really push a lot to make good times. But at the moment it's good going and we'll see what happens. Now, I know that Carlos and I, we will be playing the game. Tomorrow, he will start behind me and I'm sure he will be putting the pressure on pretty quickly in the race.,” added the BMW driver.
Having won 2 out of 3 stages in the rally so far, the Qatari driver advanced all the way into 2nd place overall (from 4th after Day Two). He finished the day more than 4 minutes ahead of Giniel de Villiers and more than 5 and a half minutes ahead of Mitsubishi's Stephane Peterhansel.
“It was a fast stage. We had a hard time keeping the lead car in our sight. We lost time little by little. From then on, there was nothing but dust and without a pacemaker in front, it was hard to keep going. We finished with a delay. I hope we will find more technical routes with some tech crossing because this is how we can thing about making a difference. The car is going well; its performances are ok. But now we need bumpier trails to make the best of its good suspension and great balance,” said Peterhansel, who dropped to 4th overall.
Despite coming second at Jacobacci, Sainz increased his lead in the overall classification to more than 3 and a half minutes. Here's a look at the Dakar classification after Day Three:
1. Carlos Sainz (VW) 9h04:48
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (BMW) + 3:40
3. Giniel de Villiers (VW) + 5:45
4. Stephane Peterhansel ( Mitsubishi) + 8:47
5. Joan Roma (Mitsubishi) + 14:22
6. Mark Miller (VW) + 15:45
7. Orlando Terranova (BMW) + 17:41
8. Krzysztof Holowczyc (Nissan) + 34:25
9. Robby Gordon (Hummer) + 34:32
10. Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi) + 38:47