Sainz clinches Dakar Rally victory
19th Jan 2010 8:00 am
Carlos Sainz fought a close battle with team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah to win the Dakar Rally.
Carlos Sainz resisted Volkswagen team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah's late challenge to clinch his first Dakar Rally victory. Al-Attiyah had reduced Sainz's lead - which at one stage reached 10 minutes - to just under three minutes going into the final stage.
But although Al-Attiyah was fastest again on the stage from San Rafael to Buenos Aires, he could not do enough in the final 206km to overhaul the former World Rally champion, who wrapped up victory with a cushion of 2m12s.
"It has been a very important day for me," said Sainz. "Spain has finally won the Dakar with cars and I'm delighted. I want to thank [co-pilot] Lucas Cruz for his great work and to all the team, and everybody who put their trust in me.”
Al-Attiyah had been determined to catch Sainz during the final days, but insisted he was still content with second. "I'm quite happy," he said. "Second place is a good result for me because I've never been in this position.
"I was pushing, but everybody knows this stage is quite straight. Really I'm so happy with second place because I tried my best. It's a good feeling because we did a great job all Dakar without any mistakes or accidents with other cars."
Mark Miller finished third, to complete a one-two-three for VW as it repeated its 2009 win.