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After the 272-kilometre dune stage of the UAE Desert Challenge the Volkswagen factory drivers Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany) are in fourth place, ahead of their teammates Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France).

Sainz/Périn had been leading the stage, which started in Abu Dhabi, until suffering a puncture. The season finale in the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup with the start and finish in Dubai will continue on Tuesday with a 328-kilometre loop around the desert bivouac in Moreeb.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"Not only the weather was extremely hot, the fight on the track was as well. Carlos Sainz was leading up to the leg’s mid-point but then suffered a puncture. Giniel de Villiers drove a good special stage, without taking too much of a risk. I’m sure that up to the end on Friday, the rally will continue to be extremely difficult.”
#201 – Carlos Sainz (E), 5th place (leg) / 5th position overall
"We started with a good pace. In front of us, Paulo Nobre rolled over. We briefly checked to see if he was okay and reported this to race control. We closed the gap to Nani Roma, but in his cloud of dust hit a large rock and had to stop to change the tyre. Shortly before the finish we managed to pass Nani Roma.”
#204 – Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 4th place (leg) / 4th position overall
"The first leg was a lot more difficult than expected. I liked the landscape with many high dunes, but in terms of driving it was very tricky. You had to very carefully watch the height of the dunes and constantly adjust your speed. We didn’t go for all-out attack in order to keep from making any mistakes. Others probably took higher risks to set these times.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah leads the event in a BMW X3 CC, 26 seconds clear of Luc Alphand in a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. His team-mate, Stephane Peterhansel, is third.

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