Carlos Sainz Moves Into Dakar Lead

Carlos Sainz is the new leader of the 2009 Dakar Rally. The Spaniard made little mistakes in Santa Rosa to Puerto Madryn stage on Sunday and clinched the overall lead after first day leader Nassar Al-Attiyah lost more than 6 minutes after the first checkpoint. The BMW driver managed to keep the pace with his rivals in the first part of the day, but made a 6-minute visit off-course to slip all the way into 4th place overall.

Although he finished the second day more than one minute ahead of Mitsubishi's Stephane Peterhansel, Sainz (VW) admitted it was a rough day because of the sandy conditions on course. The stage podium was completed by Volkswagen's Giniel de Villiers, who crossed the finish line one minute and 56 seconds behind Sainz.

“It was very difficult with the dust and the motorbikes. There were places where you basically had to stop. In one of these places I found a motorbike, and I hope it's okay,” said Sainz after the difficult stage on Sunday.

De Villiers' 3rd place at Puerto Madryn has moved him into second overall, 2 minutes and 19 seconds behind Sainz.

“The start of the special was very quick, but as soon as we arrived in the off-track part, it was not very easy to navigate and we got a little bit lost. We must have lost a minute or two. Then in the last section, there was lots of fesh-fesh, so it was very difficult to get past the bikers. But I tried to be cautious and avoid any mishaps. We didn't do too badly,” said the Volkswagen driver.

Following Al-Attiyah's poor performance on Sunday, Peterhansel has also moved up in the standings all the way into 3rd overall.

“This special stage was a bit more technical. There was some off-terrain work for the first time, so we had to be on our guard. But, it was okay. I caught up with Luc (Alphand) at one point. After that, we ended up in the dust thrown up by the bikers then by Miller (VW). It wasn't very nice, until we were able to overtake him. It was a short special but, in spite of that, there were some big fesh-fesh sections with quite thick vegetation. We were almost stopped at that point, because visibility was down to 1 or 2 meters. The bikers were all over the place, so we had to be very careful,” added the Frenchman.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories