Volkswagen trio lead Dakar Rally
- 15th January 2010, 9:11am
The order in the two classifications is identical: The Volkswagen factory drivers Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz celebrated their second stage win, the sixth for a Race Touareg this year. Towards the middle of the stage from San Juan to San Rafael the two Spaniards were about four minutes faster than their team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk.
However, on the second sandier section, Al-Attiyah reduced the gap to 52 seconds by the finish. In the overall standings the Qatari now lies 5 minutes 20 seconds behind Sainz. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford completed the extremely fast starting stage 4 minutes 22 seconds behind in third place. He now trails the leader in the overall standings by 28 minutes 12 seconds in third place.
At 476 kilometres the twelfth stage contained the longest section run against the clock in the rally. However, 130 kilometres of the route were neutralised as planned. The reason: To bypass a nature reserve via a tarmac road. An ad-hoc action by the organisers confirmed just how great the locals’ enthusiasm is for the rally: In the afternoon such a large hoard of fans from nearby Mendoza stormed to the finish that the organisers had to move the finish 6,000 metres to the 470th route kilometre for safety reasons.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director), said: "Fabulous – the fight for the lead is still exciting after about 7,500 kilometres. Carlos and Lucas made up a lot of time in the first section, then Nasser and Timo fought back again. We’ll probably have to wait to Buenos Aires on Saturday to know just how this fight will end. However, I’m quite hopeful that the Dakar Rally winner will once again sit in a Volkswagen Race Touareg.”
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