Carlos Sainz Sr. secured a second consecutive stage victory on Saturday to take over the overall lead of the Dakar Rally, but the veteran Spaniard is taking nothing for granted in the remaining seven days.
Sainz took over the lead after Peugeot Sport team-mate Stephane Peterhansel suffered a tough day that resulted him losing one hour, forty-seven minutes and fifty-six seconds to the Spaniard thanks to in-stage repairs for a broken left-rear suspension caused when he hit a rock.
Sainz himself felt it was a difficult day in Bolivia, particularly when off-piste driving was required, but he says the whole rally is all about keeping focus and surviving, particularly after the troubles the other three Peugeot drivers – Peterhansel, Cyril Despres and Sebastien Loeb – have endured in the opening seven stages.
“Actually, it was quite difficult on the whole,” said Sainz. “At the beginning, it was tricky with a lot of off-piste driving, then it got a little easier and luckily there were no problems for us.
“I’m not thinking about having the overall lead. It’s just a matter of survival at this point, there’s still such a long way to go. Of course, things are a little bit different now, but we need just to stay focussed and take everything one day at a time.”
Sainz will take a one hour, eleven minute and twenty-nine second advantage over Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al-Attiyah into Sunday’s eighth stage, which will see the competitors travel from Uyuni to Tupiza, the last full day in Bolivia before they move into Argentina on Monday.