Volkswagen continues to hold its ground after the third leg of the Dakar Rally, with Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn remaining at the top of the leader board.
With some controlled driving, the Spanish-French duo was able to increase the lead in its Race Touareg by more than a minute to 3.40 minutes on the 694-kilometre leg westwards from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci in Argentina. The second fastest time behind the day’s winners Nasser Al-Attiyah/Tina Thörner in a BMW X-raid was enough for Sainz to maintain his lead. The third leg presented the participants with speedy stretches and with winding – and therefore also demanding – sections. With some rocky ground to cover, they had to reduce the risk of tyre blowouts in order not to forfeit valuable time.The third best time of the leg was likewise secured by Volkswagen, with Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk coming in 1.05 minutes behind their teammates. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz achieved fourth position in another Race Touareg on the second longest special stage of the rally, measuring 551 kilometres. The pair fell one place in the overall rankings, to third place. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford were ranked sixth in leg 3, meaning that all four Race Touareg were in the top six. Overall, Miller/Pitchford have now moved up one position, to sixth place.
Coming up …Today, 6 January: Leg 4, Jacobacci (RA)–Neuquén (RA). The teams will face some new challenges at the start of the special stage of 459 kilometres, in the form of rocky sections and water crossings. This leg won’t just put the participants’ driving skills to the test, it will also test their navigational skills as they once again negotiate sandy conditions and off-road stretches.