Nasser Al-Attiyah will lead the Dakar Rally into the third stage today [Monday] after setting the pace through the opening two stages of the event.
The Volkswagen driver had been fifth quickest on the shortened opening stage on Saturday but was then fastest on stage two to move to the head of the field after early leader Nani Roma rolled on Sunday's test.
The Spaniard went off the road shortly after the start of the stage and lost over 15 minutes to slip down the top ten to eighth overall
“At the beginning – like yesterday – I was cautious,” Al-Attiyah said. “But when the muddy and slippery part was over we attacked a little more. I think we found a good pace without taking too much of a risk. Actually it felt as though we hadn't been driving all that fast. But the stage victory shows that we did everything right.”
Al-Attiyah sits just over a minute ahead of Volkswagen team-mate Carlos Sainz, while Stephane Peterhansel is the top BMW driver in third place – two and a half minutes off the lead.
Mark Miller, Maurcio Neves and Giniel de Villiers round out the top six – all three drivers at the wheel of the VW Race Touraeg 2 – while Carlos Sousa is the top Mitsubishi man in seventh.
Following the withdrawal of the works team, the Racing Lancers are being run by the privateer JMB Stradale Team for the 2010 event.