D he eighth stage of the Dakar Rally could be as the big turning point in the long history of the desert classic. For the first time this year, the leader in the overall standings is no longer Carlos Sainz. The 2010 winner was replaced by his VW team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah.
On the 508-kilometer long test from Antofagasta to Copiapo, Al-Attiyah and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk grumbled to the Spanish competitor 6 : 36 minutes on. In the overall standings, the two Touareg drivers are now separated by 5:14 minutes.
Al-Attiyah wants to control Dakar
'I am very happy with the win. I can now control the race 'said Al-Attiyah in the bivouac. 'In the last section of the dunes we went full throttle because we had to make up time there on Sainz. The dunes are my favorite terrain,' explained the Arab.
Dirk von Zitzewitz from Karlshof and his South African driver Giniel de Villiers completed the pure Wolfsburg podium 48:45 minutes behind.
VW strong under difficult conditions<'That was Volkswagen day today,' said the delighted Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. 'There has hardly ever been a stage as difficult as today's. And there Volkswagen pulled out such a big lead.'
One of the unlucky ones of the day was the record winner Stéphane Peterhansel, who has so far been in third place. The Frenchman experienced his third problem-ridden day in a row in the BMX 3 of the Hessian X-Raid team and lost 1:13:34 hours on the record of Al-Attiyah and Gottschalk.
Peterhansel only lost Fourth place
As a result, the nine-time Dakar champion slipped from third to fourth place, now 1:33:30 hours behind, followed by American Mark Miller in the fourth VW Touareg.
The two German buggy pilots Matthias Kahle and Thomas Schünemann are still well on course. On Monday's long stage, they achieved their best result of the day, finishing eighth. In the overall standings, the red diesel buggy is still safely in tenth place and holds the top of the rear-wheel drive classification.