Sainz promises respect, modesty in defending Dakar titlev | Pakistan Today

Sainz promises respect, modesty in defending Dakar titlev

BUENOS AIRES – Defending champion Carlos Sainz has vowed to show respect and modesty as he sets about his hunt for a second triumph in the gruelling 13-stage Dakar Rally which starts on Saturday.
The 48-year-old Spaniard, the world rally champion in 1990 and 1992 who converted to cross country rallying in 2005, led last year’s Dakar from the fifth stage to finish ahead of Volkswagen teammates, and chief rivals, Nasser al-Attiyah and Mark Miller.
“Following my career in the World Rally Championship, if there is one important lesson that I learnt for desert rallies then it is this: You must approach the challenges thrown up every day with the greatest respect and always remain modest.
” After staging the event 29 times in Africa between 1979 and 2007, the rally switched continents in 2008 for security reasons. The 2009 and 2010 editions of the rally have both also been staged in Argentina and Chile, and Sainz said the countries offered a much varied landscape. “The dune stages in the Atacama Desert and in the Cordilleras foothills will again certainly be a unique challenge.
“Sometimes you approach towering dunes like those around Copiapo. You have to sense and read the sand exactly on every single day, and you must confront the dunes with respect.” Sainz added that every driver also needed “a little luck”, citing the problems encountered by Attiyah and nine-time champion (six times on motorbike, three car) Stephane Peterhansel, whom he rated as the top sand drivers on the rally. Attiyah has pinpointed the ninth stage as key to the gruelling race that ends back in Buenos Aires on January 15.
“By all accounts the loop around Copiapo in Chile will be one of the hardest during the entire rally with lots of soft sand,” said the 40-year old Qatari. In the motorbike section of the Dakar, French KTM rider Cyril Despres will also be seeking to defend his title although he admits it will be tough, with an average of 700km a day to cover and a nine-strong multi-national team following his every move.

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