Sainz Wins Again, Increases Dakar Lead

Carlos Sainz means serious business in this year's Dakar Rally, as he recorded his 3rd win in 4 stages in the South American event and stretched his overall winning record to no less than 20 stage wins.

More importantly though, finishing the stage from San Salvador De Jujuy to Calama (into Chile) some 50 seconds ahead of Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah also helped him extend his lead in the overall classification, where he now holds more than 4 minutes of advantage from the Qatari. However, the Spaniard admitted there is still a lot of work ahead and that advantage counts for nothing in the race for the Dakar overall win.

There was some navigation work, a bit of off-track driving, but I think that it will be tomorrow when things will get serious. I drove very fast today,” said Sainz after the 4th stage finish, on Wednesday. “Peterhansel, Al Attiyah and even De Viliers are dangerous rivals. We’re very close to each other in the standings.”

Although his teammate Al-Attiyah was the closest rival on the timesheet, it was X-Raid BMW's Stephane Peterhansel who pose the highest threat for the stage win in the Atacama desert. Although leading by some 15 seconds from Sainz at the first checkpoint, a late puncture caused him to drop to 3rd in the standings in the end.

It could’ve been a good day because we were in the lead at the intermediate points. But we got a flat tire and had to change the wheel, which took two or three minutes,” said the Frenchman, who arrived at the finish line some 1:22 minutes behind Sainz. However, his 3rd place finish will help him strategically in today's 423 km of running to Iquique.

It means that we’re navigating well and that we aren’t having problems on high altitude tracks either. So, even if it wasn’t our strategy to be third for tomorrow, it hasn’t turned out to bad in the end. By setting off in third, we can gain back a handful of precious minutes.

Volkswagen duo Giniel de Villiers and Mark Miller finished the stage in 4th and 5th respectively, ahead of local favorite Orlando Terranova and Guerlain Chicherit (MINI).

In the overall classification, Sainz leads by 4:24 minutes from Al-Attiyah, while Peterhansel sits 5:41 minutes from the Spaniard, in 3rd place.
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