Dakar - Cars - Stage 3
At the conclusion of the Dakar Rally's third day, the fastest car on stage was once again handled by Nasser Al Attiyah, winner of Saturday's inaugural run. However, despite crossing the line 35 seconds behind the Qatari in second place, Carlos Sainz
and his Volkswagen remain ahead of Al Attiyah's BMW in the general standings.
Tyre problems have been affecting the motorbike category, but the people racing on four wheels have had their issues as well. In the case of Al Attiyah, his good pace was temporarily suspended while he quickly changed a flat tyre – a situation which did not prevent him from setting the best time across the 616-kilometre route but which surely gave Sainz hope of taking Monday's win.
It seems Al Attiyah has upped his initial game plan, as he permitted himself to overtake Orlando Terranova, Mark Miller, Krzysztof Holowczyc and Luc Alphand in order to move closer to Carlos Sainz: the gap between them now stands at 3:40 after three stages.
Giniel De Villiers' Volkswagen Race Touareg is in third position, with the Mitsubishi Lancers of Stéphane Peterhansel and Nani Roma completing the top five.
There was a setback in the Mitsubishi camp however, as Luc Alphand lost over a half-hour when he stopped to repair a fuel leak.
In the Production class, the battle is on between Nicolas Gibon and Jun Mitsuhashi, whose respective Toyotas took positions 31 and 32: separated by a mere seven seconds after racing across such a long itinerary, they stand only 21 seconds apart overall.