Volkswagen claim first three positions on stage, three "Blues” head overall standings: The TDI diesel powered Race Touareg continued to set the benchmark on the ninth of the 14-day long 2010 Dakar Rally. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) claimed the day’s victory on the route between Copiapó and La Serena in Chile ahead of their team mates Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) and Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D). Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) recorded the fifth fastest time in another Race Touareg behind the French X-raid driver Guerlain Chicherit in a BMW.

Carlos Sainz continues to lead the overall standings from Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mark Miller. Al-Attiyah reduced his deficit to the leader by six minutes to only 8 minutes 36 seconds.
 
Of particular interest: In the process of taking Volkswagen’s fourth stage victory this year Nasser Al-Attiyah’s winning margin of 5 minutes 59 seconds represented the largest lead for the winner of a stage during the 2010 Dakar Rally. The rally professional from Qatar achieved this notable performance on the shortest stage so far, which ran, however, through difficult dune fields in the Atacama Desert. The original 354 kilometre long section was reduced by more than half to only 170 kilometres. The organisers postponed the start by 3 hours 45 minutes due to isolated fogbanks.
 
The ninth "Dakar” day saw the competitors finally leave the Atacama Desert behind them. Beforehand, however, it was a case of overcoming dune belts and deep, soft sand. The key to success was the drivers’ ability to read the steeply falling dunes scattered with camel grass vegetation so as not to get bogged down on the opposite side and lose time as a result.
 
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"On a very sandy stage the Race Touareg with TDI Power demonstrated once again what you need to win under the toughest of conditions. The quality of our drivers was obvious again today. Although the stage was very short today, Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Timo Gottschalk opened up a considerable advantage in the dunes. Four Race Touaregs in the first five cars is a strong performance, as is holding the first three positions in the overall standings.”

#303 – Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place day / 1st position overall
"Not a simple stage, as you could lose time very easily. After around 40 or 50 kilometres we had a puncture, which we changed quickly. Afterwards we overtook Stéphane Peterhansel in the X-raid BMW who had got bogged down. From then on I was the lead car in the stage together with my co-driver Lucas Cruz – this certainly wasn’t an advantage. All in all I’m satisfied with the result particularly as we are still at the front.” 

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