A on the 761 kilometer stage from the Argentine San Salvador over the 4,600 meter high Passo de Jama to Calama, Chile, Volkswagen celebrated a double victory. Behind Sainz, Timo Gottschalk from Berlin and his Qatari chauffeur Nasser Al-Attiyah finished second in the second Volkswagen Touareg on Wednesday.
Al Attiyah is planning an attack on Sainz
'Today it was about not getting a puncture on the gravel stretches. We did that,' said Sainz happily about the successful defense of the front. 'It's good to be in the lead, but we're only now in Chile. And only now is the rally really getting underway.'
Al-Attiyah could also live with second place: 'It was today there is no advantage in opening the route as yesterday's winner. We had set ourselves the goal of losing less than a minute today. The plan worked. ' The desert fox has planned a major attack on the tip for Thursday. 'Tomorrow there is a long desert stage ahead of us, which our team-mate Carlos Sainz will open. We are in a better position.'
Gordon-Hummer retires with engine failure
Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel claimed his third place in BMX 3 (5:41 minutes behind) ahead of North German Dirk von Zitzewitz and his South African VW driver Giniel de Villiers. The American Robby Cordon, who was still third in 2009, retired with his large-capacity Hummer due to engine failure on the way to the start of the fourth decision.
For Matthias Kahle and Thomas Schünemann things went better again after the three punctures the day before. With the third day win in the buggy class, the Germans regained the lead in their class. With 18th place and 2:19 hours behind, the duo is even the fastest two-wheel-drive vehicle in the entire field.