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DAKAR: Sainz victorious in Brazil
6 July 2009
Two-time World Rally champion, Carlo Sainz took the victory on the recent Rallye dos Sertões in Brazil as Volkswagen stepped up its preparations for the Dakar Rally in January 2010.
Sainz, who was competing with a new co-driver, Lucas Cruz Senra, finished the event just 1 minute 4.9 seconds up on his Volkswagen team-mate, Nasser Al-Attiyah, who was also competing in a Touareg Race 2.
Sainz and Al-Attiyah dominated the event and in the end they won all ten stages during the 5,056 kilometre trek from the start in Goiânia to the finish in Natal.
Speaking at the finish, the Spaniard was delight to have taken 'gold': "This is a victory that makes me very happy, clinched after a hard fight. The Sertões was truly a challenge," said the former World Rally star.
"The special stages were long and extremely demanding, the terrain exceptional varied, and a continuous change of rhythm demanded full concentration.
"For me and my co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra it was a good test to get used to each other in the cockpit in competitive conditions. I think we definitely achieved this.
"That we won our first joint rally against such strong team-internal rivals was the icing on the cake."
Al-Attiyah, who like Sainz is also well known in the WRC, but more for his exploits in the Production Car World Rally Championship, having taken the title in 2006, was also happy.
Indeed as it was his first event with the Volkswagen Touareg Race 2, he was encouraged to be in contention for the win and to notch up four stage victories.
"The Rallye dos Sertões was my first competition with Volkswagen and I'm more than happy with the result," he added.
"Everyone in the team works in a highly professional manner; the technical crew members love their jobs and give everything to achieve success. I need to thank them because they made it possible for me to make such a great debut with material that was always one-hundred-percent right.
"Thanks to the team spirit and my co-driver Timo Gottschalk, with whom I got on perfectly from the outset, I'm sure that I'll be able to make my dream of winning the 'Dakar' come true in January."
Volkswagen motorsport director, Kris Nissen meanwhile was delighted to see his two men do so well and put in such a convincing performance, both finishing over 3.5 hours up on Jean Azevedo, who was 'best of the rest' and third in his Mitsubishi L200 Evo.
"If I could award a maximum of five stars for perfect work I'd give each and every team member exactly five stars," Nissen summed-up. "The one-two victory here in Brazil can be credited equally to the team and the drivers. The work of the entire crew was perfect, just as it was at the Dakar Rally.
"The outstanding job by Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and their co-drivers makes me just as optimistic about the future.
"Both would have deserved victory and, in the end, were separated by just a few minutes after a tough fight."
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