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Rally dos Sertoes: Sainz and Al-Attiyah separated by three seconds after Stage 8.

Volkswagen’s internal duel for the lead at the Rallye dos Sertoes 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 (E/E) 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 (Q/D) 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 covering a total distance of 438 kilometres featured 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.

"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,” said Kris Nissen, director of Volkswagen Motorsport.

"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,” said Carlos Sainz.

"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,” said Nasser Al-Attiyah.

"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,” said Maurício Neves.

2009/07/03 | 17:14 CET | Editor: MR/Volkswagen/Rita Konya

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