|Dakar 2010: Volkswagen celebrates fifth stage win in SS10.|
The Spaniards Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz increased their lead over their two team mates in the overall standings following the duo’s first stage victory and Volkswagen’s fifth so far this year in the 2010 Dakar Rally. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk are now second 10 minutes 6 seconds behind the leaders, Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford in the third Race Touareg trail the leaders by a margin of 28 minutes 19 seconds.
The three leaders in the overall standings were incredibly evenly matched after more than three hours of driving through the tenth Dakar stage: Sainz, Al-Attiyah and Miller reached the finish in team formation covered by a mere 1 minute 40 seconds.
The former Rally World Champion Sainz was completely in his element along the small mountain passes from La Serena to Santiago. Stony tracks, tight corners and many braking manoeuvres - the demands were rather more reminiscent of a rally world championship than a desert rally. Nevertheless his task was anything but routine: Sainz won the desert classic´s tenth stage in the Race Touareg with a 28 second margin over Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret in an X-raid BMW. It was his sixteenth stage victory in a Dakar Rally, which he contests for Volkswagen since 2006. Another rival in the fight for victory on the day was Volkswagen team mate Mark Miller who even led after having completed 148 of the 238 total kilometres. The American finished third on the day ahead of team mate Nasser Al-Attiyah.
After ten of the events 14 stages the Volkswagen trio hold a considerable advantage at the head of the overall standings: Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret are 2 hours 14 minutes 20 seconds behind in fourth at the wheel of an X-raid-BMW.
Kris Nissen: "That was a stage like a sprint rally. We set-up the cars differently and selected suitable damping characteristics for the ZF Sachs dampers. As a result, the cars were very agile and fast. My congratulations go not only to the drivers but also to their co-drivers. The navigation was really tricky today also. We can be extremely satisfied with the results but should nevertheless not forget that there is still a long way to go. Everybody must continue to do their jobs faultlessly."
Giniel de Villiers (ZA): "Actually a great stage with many gravel sections which were great fun to drive. It´s easy to explain our loss of time. At the start of the stage we waited until our team mate Mark Miller had overtaken us to be able to help if something happened. That was the first four minutes. A puncture cost us another two minutes. Afterwards we were stuck in the dust cloud kicked up by Stéphane Peterhansel´s X-raid BMW."
Carlos Sainz (E): "A typical stage like we see in the rally world championship, which really suited us. Tight corners, very slippery passages - today you could lose more than you could gain. Nevertheless we found a good rhythm. We caught up very quickly with Nasser Al-Attiyah who had started in front of us, but couldn´t overtake in his dust."
Mark Miller (USA): "These types of stages actually suit me less than those with more sand. Nevertheless we drove at a good pace today. Just before the start I spoke to my team mate Carlos Sainz and he gave me a few good tips. I think this helped us to finish third today."
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q): "I was first on the stage today - which certainly wasn´t an advantage. But I knew that it would be difficult for my team mate Carlos Sainz to pass in the dust. We were able to control the time loss as a result. This gives us a small advantage for tomorrow with these stages like those in the rally world championship and the tracks through dry riverbeds, because we have three cars starting in front of us which effectively sweep the tracks clean - just as we did for the others today."
2010/01/13 | 11:56 CET | Editor: MR/HS/VW/Moser