Dutchman Frans Verhoeven in motorcycle and Spain's Carlos Sainz in auto won the ninth stage in Copiapo. The Spaniard now leads the general ranking in front of his Volkswagen teammate Mark Miller.
REUTERS - Spaniard Carlos Sainz won his third consecutive stage in the Dakar Rally on Monday, and fifth overall, to extend his lead.
Sainz completed the 449-km section across the Atacama desert from La Serena to Copiapo in five hours 56.8 minutes to go nearly 20 minutes clear of American Mark Miller.
"This was very, very hard," said Sainz. "There were a lot of stones and difficult navigation.
"It was really complicated. Just finishing without problems is a triumph."
Miller led for part of the stage until his steering broke late on and he eventually finished 1.47 minutes behind.
"We caught up with Carlos after 60-km on the off-road section," he said. "We overtook him after around 150-km and things were going quite well.
"We were back and forth battling. In the last off-road section the track was a bit difficult to find and there were big boulders.
"I hit a big boulder on the right. I broke the steering so we had to stop and repair it and at the same time fix a wheel that broke."
Miller still moved into second place in the overall standings, leap-frogging South African Giniel De Villiers who was fifth.
Dutchman Frans Verhoeven won the motorbike stage while Spain's Marc Coma stayed more than one hour clear in the overall standings after finishing fourth.
Date created : 2009-01-12