|SA-Dakar: VW´s Carlos Sainz - "This is a risky game and we knew this".|
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk increased their lead at the top of the Dakar Rally standings on the eleventh stage. On the section from Chilecito to San Juan they recorded their fourth stage victory this year in the Race Touareg 3 and benefited at the same time from the bad luck of their team mates Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz. Last year’s winners from Spain dropped back due to damage on their car, but are still on course for a podium finish. New second placed duo is Giniel de Villiers in another Race Touareg.
Carlos Sainz, up to now second in the overall standings, led the cross country rally's eleventh stage for almost 400 kilometres. Damage to the right-hand front suspension of his car then forced the Spaniard to stop and make repairs, during which last year's winner lost a lot of time. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) stopped in the stage to help their team mates under inhuman conditions. Sainz/Cruz dropped back to third overall due to the repair work, their team mates Miller/Pitchford fell to sixth position.
"Today we really attacked and were about 25 seconds behind in the dust cloud kicked up by our team mate Nasser Al-Attiyah" said Sainz. "This is a risky game and we knew this. Because of the dust we didn't see a hole which we slid into when we locked the brakes. The suspension broke. Luckily Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford were directly behind us with spare parts and we could replace the destroyed components in record time in incredibly high temperatures. Thanks to Mark and Ralph's help we still managed to reach third place overall. I'm really thankful for this. But today I'm not only simply exhausted I also need a new body."
Mark Miller added: "Just after the start of the second part of the stage we came across Carlos and Lucas who had suffered suspension damage. We worked fantastically together and solved the problem as quickly as possible. Normally you need at least two hours for this, we managed it in one. But this is exactly why we are one team."
Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel in the X-raid-BMW reached the stage finish second 1 minute 13 seconds behind Nasser Al-Attiyah. The third best time went to yesterday's stage winner Giniel de Villiers. The 2009 Dakar Champion now sits 51 minutes 49 seconds behind Al-Attiyah in the overall standings.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director) said: "A proverb in motorsport is - ‘To finish first, first you have to finish'. Congratulations to Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk for their performance today. It was a very exciting day for everyone. Carlos Sainz suffered suspension damage. Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford helped them with spare parts and energy and encouragement. I'm proud of the four as they completed the repair in record time. As a result we still lead the field with three Race Touareg cars. All in all a good day for Volkswagen."
2011/01/14 | 15:30 CET | ARTICLE: MR/DAKARTEAM