Carlos Sainz now leads the Dakar Rally by nearly 20 minutes following victory on the ninth stage of the event from La Serena to Copiapo.

The Spaniard was nearly two minutes quicker than VW team-mate Mark Miller over the 449km special stage, with the American moving up to second place overall.

Miller had looked good for a potential stage win but lost vital time when he suffered a broken wheel and damaged suspension, although he was still able to move ahead of fellow VW man Giniel de Villiers who lost time himself after taking a wrong turn early through the test.

"I've been waiting a year for that stage," Miller said. "We caught up with Carlos (Sainz) after 60 kilometers on the off-road section. We overtook him after around 150 kilometres and things were going quite well. We were back and forth more or less battling. In the last off-road section, the track was a bit difficult to find and there were big boulders. I hit a big boulder on the right. I broke the steering, so we had to stop and repair the steering and at the same time fix a wheel that broke.

"Carlos beat us by a bit more than a minute I guess, but it was a great day, a really, really fun day. I had a smile on my face from the start until the finish. I gave it everything today, because I thought I could pull back six or seven minutes, but we were just really unlucky. Tomorrow it should be fantastic again, and I'm really looking forward to it."

American NASCAR ace Robby Gordon was an impressive third quickest through the stage, while BMW pairing Orlando Terranova and Leonid Novitskiy sandwiched de Villiers in fourth and sixth place.

Overall, the top six places remain the same going into stage ten.

Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions on SS9:

1. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen Touareg 5hrs 56m 08s
2. Mark Miller Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 01m 47s
3. Robby GordonHummer H3+0hrs 02m 16s
4. Orlando Terranova BMW X3 CC+0hrs 10m 06s
5. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 12m 01s
6. Leonid NovitskiyBMW X3 CC+0hrs 16m 15s

Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions after SS8:

1. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen Touareg 33hrs 26m 07s
2. Mark Miller Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 19m 52s
3. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 22m 58s
4. Nani Roma Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 58m 12s
5. Robby GordonHummer H3+1hrs 34m 17s
6. Krzysztof Holowczyc Nissan Navara+3hrs 23m 53s



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