Volkswagen continues maintaining its hold in the group of the front runners on the third leg of the Dakar Rally: Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) with their three Race Touareg cars are ranking in positions two to four at the world’s toughest desert rally.
The overall lead was taken by today’s stage winners Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F) from the X-Raid-Team.
On the 182-kilometre special stage from La Rioja to Fiambalá in Argentina the rally’s level of difficulty clearly increased with scree passages, soft sand and the first high dunes: Sainz, who managed setting the second-best stage time with a driving time of 3h 01m 03s, achieved an average of just 60.315 kph on the special. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) had to take a repair brake after an accident at the beginning of the stage and therefore dropped back.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"The Dakar Rally started in earnest today. We knew that as of today things would be getting much more difficult. Nevertheless, we were a little surprised about how difficult it really was and how slow the average speed was on the course. With Carlos Sainz’s second place in front of his team-mates we continue doing well in the race and have every reason to be optimistic.”