Carlos Sainz says he is hopeful that Volkswagen will be able to secure victory in the Dakar Rally despite his retirement from the lead n stage twelve.
The Spaniard held a comfortable lead going into the run from Fiambala to La Rioja but went off the road just 79km into the test and rolled his Race Touareg.
With co-driver Michel Perrin picking up a shoulder injury in the process, Sainz was left with no option but to call it a day, with his dominant run coming to a disappointing conclusion.
"Suddenly, a four-metre deep hole appeared in front of us,” he said. “We fell into it and landed on our roof. A BMW and Nani Roma were able to get around us at the last moment. The BMW team stopped and helped us to put the car back on its wheels.
“In the meantime an ASO doctor had arrived who briefly checked Michel Perin and barred him from continuing the drive on account of a shoulder injury. The Race Touareg was by and large okay, the engine was running. Of course we were lucky in this situation as well.
“I'm very disappointed and I'm very sorry for the team that we're out, but I'm hoping that our team will win in the end anyhow.”
Sainz's retirement saw Mark Miller hit the front, but the American was only able to finish second on the stage to the third VW of Giniel de Villiers, who now takes the overall lead.
"The most important news is that the accident of Carlos Sainz and Michel Perin did not result in any serious personal injuries but we still have to wait for the results of the in-depth medical checks,” VW motorsport boss Kris Nissen said. “Apparently, Michel sustained a shoulder injury. I talked with both of them on the phone. They are both disappointed that the Dakar Rally is over for them; at the same time, they're relieved that the incident did not result in serious consequences.
“We knew that to win we'd first have to overcome the 'Dakar' itself. Our most promising team is now no longer in the race, but with Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford and Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz we've still got two irons in the fire to win the Dakar Rally with the Race Touareg.”