Dakar Rally leader Carlos Sainz has moved another step closer to overall victory after winning Tuesday's 10th stage of the South American event.
The Spaniard completed the 238-kilometer special from La Serena to Santiago in just over three hours to claim his first stage victory of the 2010 Dakar. Sainz finished 28 seconds ahead of Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, with American Mark Miller in third position. It was Sainz's 16th stage victory of his Dakar career.
Sainz's closest rival and Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah had to settle for fourth place in the stage, losing one minute and 40 seconds to the former World Rally ace, who now leads the Qatari by over 10 minutes with four timed specials remaining in the event.
"Today we didn't have any problems," said Sainz. "Some 80 kilometers from the start we caught up with Nasser and we followed him, because he wasn't listening to the sentinel and it was impossible to pass him.
"It was a very slow and twisty track, a road more than anything. I knew he wasn't going to let me pass, but since kilometer 80 I was on his trail of dust."
Al-Attiyah, the first man on the road today, said it has been an stressful stage for him.
"It was very, very dangerous, not easy, because there were a lot of corners, a lot of slippery stuff," he said. "For me it was not a good feeling and I'm really happy to have finished without any problems.
On a very tight special, BMW's Guerlain Chicherit was fifth fastest, just over two and a half minutes behind Sainz. Robby Gordon placed ninth, his best result of the past few days, but the NASCAR and U.S. off-road star remains 10th overall.Stage 10 standings:
Pos Driver Car Gap
1. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen 3h01m05s
2. Stephane Peterhansel BMW 28s
3. Mark Miller Volkswagen 1m02s
4. Nasser Al-Attiyah Volkswagen 1m04s
5. Guerlain Chicherit BMW 2m04s
6. Orlando Terranova Mitsubishi 3m42s
7. Miguel Barbosa Mitsubishi 7m43s
8. Guilherme Spinelli Mitsubishi 9m26s
9. Robby Gordon Hummer 9m36s
10. Carlos Sousa Mitsubishi 9m38s
Overall standings after stage 10:
Pos Driver Car Gap
1. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen 36h34m45s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Volkswagen 10m06s
3. Mark Miller Volkswagen 28m19s
4. Stephane Peterhansel BMW 2h14m20s
5. Guerlain Chicherit BMW 2h30m59s
6. Carlos Sousa Mitsubishi 3h54m05s
7. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen 4h46m13s
8. Guilherme Spinelli Mitsubishi 5h25m08s
9. Orlando Terranova Mitsubishi 5h40m31s
10. Robby Gordon Hummer 5h43m56s