Sainz Stretches Lead in Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally caravan got back in action yesterday, with a stage that only brought Volkswagen's Carlos Sainz another chance to put some more minutes between him and teammate Giniel de Villiers in the overall classification. The stage from Valparaiso to La Serena was dominted from beginning to end by the Spanish driver who crossed the finish line more than 4 minutes ahead of VW's Dieter Depping.

Sainz mastered the 294-kilometer stage which he later considered 'very much like a traditional rally stage'. Unlike the Spaniard, South African De Villiers had to pay tribute to a slow puncture along the way and lost more than 10 minutes to finish the stage 5th overall, behind VW's Mark Miller and Mitsubishi's Juan Roma. He is now 10:57 minutes off the pace in the overall standings.

“Today was the first time we have driven on tracks. Up until now, those are the first real tracks that I've seen. But it was very nice, very slippery and sometimes quite tricky. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I hope that we'll carry on being as successful as we have been today,” said Sainz after his successful run on yesterday.

Miller used the 8th stage of the rally to get closer to De Villiers in the overall classification. The American is now almost 7 minutes behind his Volkswagen teammate, which he regarded as a success considering the type of stage he's been through on Sunday.

“Lots of chance to lose your rally, and no chance to make any time really. It's not the kind of stage that's built for me. It's perfect for Carlos and the guys that like the rally stuff. I stayed within four minutes of Carlos and I thought I would've lost six to eight, so I did better than I was expecting. So for me, it was a success. A few minutes is no big deal,” said Miller.

Here are the Top 10 drivers at the finish line of the 8th stage:

1. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen 3h47:19
2. Dieter Depping Volkswagen + 4:02
3. Mark Miller Volkswagen + 4:12
4. Joan Roma Mitsubishi + 4:15
5. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen + 10:48
6. Guerlain Chicherit BMW + 11:32
7. Krzysztof Holowczyc Nissan + 17:33
8. Robby Gordon Hummer + 23:40
9. Ivar Erik Tollefsen Nissan + 26:11
10. Tonnie van Deijne Mitsubishi + 27:31
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