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Volkswagen’s internal duel for the lead at the Rallye dos Sertões has become even more dramatic two days before the end of the cross-country rally through Brazil.

The factory pairing Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz Senra decided the eighth leg between Petrolina and Juazeiro do Norte in its favour with a 1.37-minute advantage, relegating Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk in another Race Touareg to second place on the stage. The gap between the two leading rally vehicles has now shrunk to three seconds.

The leg covered a total distance of 438 kilometres featuring winding roads with stony and sandy sections and demanded the co-drivers’ full concentration due to hidden directional changes. The Brazilian duo Maurício Neves/Eduardo Bampi finished the stage in third place and thus completed the one-two-three exploit of the Volkswagen squad.
 
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"The ‘Sertões’ has evolved into an extremely thrilling duel between Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz. Today Carlos Sainz benefited from the fact that Nasser Al-Attiyah had to start in front of him and open the course. Tomorrow the situation will be reversed. So, we’ll have to wait until the end of the rally to see who will decide this extremely demanding event in their favour. It’s a matter of seconds.”
 
#301 – Carlos Sainz (E), 1st place leg / 2nd place overall
"Today it was clearly beneficial not having to be the first car to go out. I followed Nasser Al-Attiyah’s track. Even though that wasn’t the best option at all times I was able to make up the two minutes of starting difference, but wasn’t able to overtake in the dust. It was a very rough and difficult leg. I’m happy to have won it.”
 
#302 – Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 2nd place leg / 1st place overall
"A tough day for us in the cockpit. The track had lots of sand, some rocks and loads of hidden branch-offs for my co-driver Timo Gottschalk that were not always clearly marked in the roadbook. We had to turn around a few times and that cost us some time. It’ll be a close fight and a nail-biting duel with Carlos Sainz up to the very end.”
 
#309 – Maurício Neves (BR), 3rd place leg / 7th place overall
"The leg today suited me very well and featured everything the Rallye dos Sertões is known for. It included a little bit of every type of terrain. Navigation was very demanding too. Of course I’m very happy with third place and a day without any mistakes.”
 

Interim standings after Leg 08, Petrolina (PE) – Juazeiro do Norte (CE)
197 km/438 km SS 09/total
 

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 1h 52m 04.9 (2), 26h 13m 44.7
2. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz Senra (E/E), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 1h 51m 04.9 (1), + 3,0s
3. Jean Azevedo/Youssef Haddad (BR/BR), Mitsubishi L200, 2h 19m 52.1 (9), + 3h 12m 28.6
4. Roberto Reijers/Marcos Almeida (BR/BR), Ford Ranger, 2h 19m 30.2 (8), + 4h 56m 08.0
5. Felipe Bibas/Emerson Cavassi (BR/BR), Mitsubishi L200, 2h 12m 12.3 (6), + 5h 22m 04.9
6. Luiz Facco/Silvio Deusdará (BR/BR), Mitsubishi L200, 2h 21m 01.7 (10), + 5h 40m 27.3
7. Maurício Neves/Eduardo Bampi (BR/BR), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 1h 56m 50.8 (3), + 5h 53m 24.1
8. Richard Vaders/A. Spacassassi (BR/BR), Sherpa, 2h 16m 19.8 (7), + 7h 11m 12.2
9. Jarbas de Castro/W. von Schmidt (BR/BR), Sherpa, 2h 22m 52.6 (12), + 7h 14m 15.7
10. Antonio Franciosi/Rafael Capoani (BR/BR), Sherpa, 2h 07m 46.5 (4), + 8h 23m 23.6

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