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Dakar Rally: Sainz takes stage 1 victory

01-04-2011 09:55 BJT

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Results from the first full day of the 2011 Dakar Rally are in the record books. Motorcyclist Ruben Faria and former World Rally champion driver Carlos Sainz claimed the initial stage wins.

Zhou Yuande finished stage 1 first among all the Chinese drivers. He got 73rd place. Zhou Yong and Liu Kun finished 85th and 93rd. China's Su Wenmin finished in 109th place in the motorbikes.

Veteran driver Lu Ningjun failed to reach the start point of stage 1 on time due to breakdown of his car's oil pump. Lu said race officials had already left when he arrived to begin his race. But he managed to reach the camp at the finish. The Chinese driver revealed the organizers gave him entry documents for stage 2 and it's very likely that he can continue his Dakar campaign.

More from stage 1: Carlos Sainz's major rival in the cars was Stephane Peterhansel. The Frenchman is seeking his 10th victory of the event. Peterhansel finished one minute and 31 seconds behind Sainz in his BMW. Last year's runner-up, Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar came across the line in third place, a further 45 seconds back. Mark Miller was third last year, and second two years ago, but did not have the best of opening stages this time. Sainz was the first driver to start in his Volkswagen Touraeg.

The Spaniard endured problems with his windscreen wipers, but he was still the quickest on the day as he covered the 222 kilometres in two hours, 18 minutes and 32 seconds. So in the standings. Peterhansel sits 1 minute 31 seconds off Sainz's pace. And Al-Attiyah trails by 2 minutes and 16 seconds.

Carlos Sainz said, "We got a terrible rain storm, we couldn't see anything and I was very lucky because after that the wipers stopped working. But luckily the rain went, so everything was fine. I'm happy for the team that we are starting this rally leading irst Volkswagen, and that is important."

Portuguese rider Ruben Faria set the pace. He secured the fourth stage victory of his Dakar Rally career by completing the 192-kilometre distance in one hour, 58 minutes and two seconds. Frenchman Cyril Despres was second, 29 seconds slower than Faria. Marc Coma took third place on the stage. He got off to a nice start and finds himself in a good position to take his 3rd Dakar Rally crown. In the standings. Faria holds a 29 second advantage over Despres while Coma is one minute and 15 seconds back. Juan Garcia is fourth and Paulo Goncalves is in fifth.

Results from the first full day of the 2011 Dakar Rally are in the record books.
Motorcyclist Ruben Faria and former World Rally champion driver Carlos Sainz
claimed the initial stage wins.

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