Rally legend adds cross-country classic to his CV
18 January 2010

Carlos Sainz has clinched his first Dakar Rally victory.

The VW driver had been forced to push to the end of the event, as VW team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah piled on the pressure until the end of the rally.

Dakar Rally picture gallery

"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.

"We haven't had any problems, and the car doesn't have a scratch. I think we have done a fast but intelligent Dakar. It has been a very hard fight with my team-mate. We knew it would be that way. As I said before, I want to thank everyone who trusted 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.

Sainz had held the lead from stage five onwards, as VW took command of the second half of the rally following a strong early challenge from the X-raid BMW team.

The BMWs had the pace to take the fight to VW, but not the consistency. Stage one winner Nani Roma crashed heavily on the second day, Guerlain Chicherit had to play catch-up from the start following severe electrical problems, and a broken propshaft on stage five cost Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel a growing lead.

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