Sainz stays on top


SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMAN, Argentina, January 4 – Defending champion Carlos Sainz of Spain, driving a Volkswagen, added a second stage win in as many days Monday at the Dakar Rally in Argentina, dominating the 324km special stage from Cordoba to San Miguel de Tucuman.Sainz crossed the line with a 1min 03sec advantage over Qatari teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah, with French veteran and multiple champion Stephane Peterhansel 1min 34sec adrift in his BMW.

Double rally world champion Sainz moved his overall lead over Peterhansel to 3:05 with last year’s runner-up Al-Attiyah third at 3:19 as the drivers head for Tuesday’s third stage – a 500km special stage from San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy.

As Sainz again showed his form, three-time motorbikes champion Cyril Despres also claimed victory in his section’s 300km second stage. Despres finished 1min 49sec ahead of fellow KTM rider Marc Coma of Spain with compatriot David Casteu of Sherco in third.

The title-holder cemented his place at the top of the overall standings with a second consecutive victory after teammate Ruben Faria who had won Sunday’s first stage was handed a one minute penalty for breaking the speed limit in a controlled zone.

Despres managed to stay in front from start to finish to claim his 25th stage win in the Dakar Rally, and only the third time that he has won when opening the road.

In the overall standings, Despres leads two-time champion Coma by 2min 35sec with Portugal’s Faria third at 6:13.

Tuesday’s third bikes stage to San Salvador de Jujuy includes a 521km special.