Sainz Takes Win No 6, Stage 11 Cancelled

Carlos Sainz can't seem to get enough of this year's Dakar Rally, as he clinched his 4th consecutive victory (and 6th overall) in the shortened stage of Copiapo on Tuesday. The Spaniard faced tough competition from American Robby Gordon for the stage win, but eventually crossed the finish line some 21 seconds ahead of the Hummer driver.

Gordon had one of his best days in the rally so far, grabbing an early lead and taking it to the last section of the stage. He performed wonderfully in the dunes but lost some valuable time in the bumpy section before the finish line to settle for the second best time of the day.

Third overall was 2nd place in the overall classification Mark Miller. The American lost 7 minutes and 39 seconds to Sainz, therefore handing the Spaniard a comfortable lead overall ahead of the 11th stage. However, Miller strengthened his 2nd place in the Dakar standings, as South African Giniel de Villiers - 3rd overall – lost some more valuable time during yesterday's stage.

De Villiers finished the stage in 6th place, more than 18 minutes off pace. Under the circumstances, Miller stretched his advantage over his Volkswagen teammate to more than 13 minutes.

Gordon, on the other hand, is now holding a more-than-comfortable lead in the Open class and seems to aim for more in the final stages of the rally. The Hummer driver recuperated almost 15 minutes to 4th placed overall Nani Roma (5th in yesterday's stage) and is now trailing the Spaniard by 20 minutes in the standings.

Carlos Sainz – “Lots of off-roading, high camel grass, soft sand, stones galore -- this special stage really pushed us to the limits. Particularly on the last section, the organizer had some tough tasks in store for us. So, today I'm really bushed. Of course it's great to have won another stage and to have increased our overall lead that way. But today, reaching the finish without any major problems was really the main thing.”

Robby Gordon – “We had a good day. We managed to have a problem-free stage that will have no consequence. We caught up with Miller around CP2. I remained pretty careful on the bumps on the way back. We are just loosing about 20 seconds, so it's meaningless. As soon as we are on faster trails, they (the Volkswagen) shake us off. They have so much more power than we do!

Mark Miller - “We struggled with the navigation all morning. When you are struggling with the navigation the rhythm is very difficult to maintain. Finally when we got a puncture and Giniel caught us we followed him. It was a very difficult day. I really expected to do better in the stage.”

The Dakar organizers confirmed that, due to foggy conditions, Stage 11 of the competition was canceled.

Here's a look at the overall standings after yesterday's stage:

1. Sainz (Volkswagen)                 38h59:027
2. Miller (Volkswagen)                  + 27:31
3. De Villiers (Volkswagen)           + 41:13
4. Roma (Mitsubishi)                    + 1:13:13
5. Gordon (Hummer)                    + 1:34:38
6. Tollefsen (Nissan)                     + 5:14:18
7. Kuipers (BMW)                         + 8:01:51
8. Palik (Nissan)                           + 9:50:29
9. Holowczyc ( Nissan)                 + 13:04:54
10. Chicherit (BMW)                     + 13:32:04
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