VW’s Dakar domination continues
- 10th January 2010, 11:47am
Three Race Touareg cars with TDI power are running in front of the overall standings before the rest day. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) are leading the world’s toughest rally with 11m 03s in front of their team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and 22m 06s in front of Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA).
Nasser Al-Attiyah managed an outstanding feat on the seventh leg: From Iquique to Antofagasta in the Chilean Atacama desert the Volkswagen factory driver from Qatar commandingly won the 600-kilometre, and so far longest, stage. After a nail-biting duel and the lead changing many times he arrived 3m 29s earlier at the finish than Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (F/F) in the X-Raid-BMW. On the first 80 kilometres the two drivers had been snatching individual seconds from each other. For Al-Attiyah it was the second stage win after his exploit on the second day of the rally.
Carlos Sainz finished the stage that first consisted of dunes, then a surface of "salar” salt crystal blocks and, ultimately, quicker, stony sections in third place. Mark Miller took the fourth position. Last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) finished the stage before the rest day in sixth place after two punctures but, due to previous delays, are ranking 4h 31m behind the front runners.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"I take my hat off to our drivers, co-drivers and the Race Touareg. We mastered the longest day with a stage victory and places one to three in the overall standings. The mechanics are in for a lot of work on the rest day while the drivers and co-drivers have a chance to recover a bit. We’re very pleased at the moment but also know that we’ve still got 50 per cent of the rally ahead of us.”
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