6 Jan 2009

Sainz leading Dakar rally

2:07 pm on 6 January 2009

The former world rally champion Carlos Sainz is setting the pace after the opening three stages of the Dakar Rally in Argentina.

The Spainish Volkswagen driver finished second in the latest stage, a 551-kilometre special stage from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci, which was won by Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah in a BMW .

Overall, Sainz leads the Qatari by three minutes and 40 seconds, while South Africa's Giniel De Villiers is third, almost six minutes off the pace.

Meanwhile Sainz compatriot Marc Coma has won the third motorcycle stage as fellow KTM rider Cyril Despres, who won the event in 2005 and 2007, lost more ground.

The 2009 edition of the gruelling race has been switched this year from Africa because of security fears.