LEG 3: Boucle de M’Hamid (Wednesday, October 7)
In a difficult stage, Carlos Sainz provided further evidence of the form of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16 by collecting his second consecutive stage victory in Morocco. Sébastien Loeb had another troubled day.
The presentation of today’s route to competitors set the tone. The 274km M’Hamid loop took them into a region of sand dunes and was described as particularly challenging, while co-drivers had to cope with navigating on several off-road sections. The difficulties began shortly after the start and matters weren’t helped by the day’s stifling heat.
Tuesday’s winner Carlos Sainz was the first car runner on the road and, thanks to the slick navigation of his co-driver Lucas Cruz, he managed to establish a fast early pace. After leading at Passage Controls 2 and 3, they went on to clinch their second stage victory of the week, almost four minutes clear of Nasser Al Attiyah. In doing so, they have extended their lead at the top of the provisional standings to 5m20s.
Meanwhile, team-mates Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena had a far more eventful day. The Frenchman’s apprenticeship of driving over dunes saw him put his car on its side in a hollow. After a wait of almost three hours, another competitor provided the necessary aid to get the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR15+ upright again and Loeb/Elena were soon back on their way. Fourteen kilometres from the end, however, the Franco-Monegasque crew rolled and, as we write these lines, Team Peugeot Total is still looking for a solution to get them and the N°312 car to tonight’s camp. It is hoped that they will be able to re-start in the morning.
Carlos Sainz, PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16 #311 (1st, by 3m56s)
“Today’s result is a further sign that our work is heading in the right direction. Today’s stage was the hardest of the week so far and being first on the road really wasn’t easy. Even so, we had a good run, the car went well and I was pleased with my pace.”
For further information, listen to Carlos Sainz’s podcast at http://peugeot-media.com/audio.php?nav=1139
Final positions – Leg 3
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16
2. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Mini All 4 Racing
3. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)/Michel Perin (FRA) , Mini All 4 Racing, +4m57s
4. Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk Von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, +8m53s
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS),Toyota Hi-Lux, +12m20s
Provisional standings after Leg 3
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16, 8h23m18s
2. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Mini All 4 Racing, +5m20s
3. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Toyota Hi-Lux, +22m7s
4. Al Rahji (SAU)/ Timo Gottschlack (GER), Toyota Hi-Lux, +22m15s
5. Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk Von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, +27m13s