VW Leads Dakar Rally While Driver Who Hit Dead Woman Quits

Posted Jan 4, 2010 by Christopher Szabo
A driver who was disqualified last year in the Dakar Rally has now taken the lead in the extreme rally. Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar has won the second stage in a Volkswagen Touareg leading his teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain.
Volkswagen s Racing Touareg
Volkswagen's Racing Touareg
The stage continued inland from the Argentinian town of Cordoba to La Rioja. Guerlin Chicherit was second in a BMW ahead of Volkswagen’s Carlos Neves, Sainz and Mark Miller, according to Independent Online’s Motoring website.
Last year’s winner and favourite this year, South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers was reported by South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to be running fifth overall.
The current leader Al-Attiyah, speaking after yesterday’s gruelling stage, said:
We caught Stephane after 150km. We kept a modest pace for a while then it became very technical. That’s where we attacked before ending up in Carlos’ dust. From then on we kept up a good rhythm. Everything is going great. The conditions were pretty difficult - there was rain, fog, a bit of everything.
David Fretigne won the motorcycle stage on a Yamaha to share the lead in the motorcycle section with fellow Frenchman David Casteu of Sherco.
Meanwhile, the German radio station Deutsche Welle’s website says the German driver who lost control of his car on the first stage of the rally, Micro Schultis, along with his Swiss teammate Ulrich Leardi, have withdrawn from the rally. The drivers were not disqualified.
28-year-old Sonia Gallardo died when Schultis and Leardi’s car left the track on Saturday. Five other spectators were also injured, and the website said a 24-year-old man had undergone surgery, while a boy had been taken to hospital.
Schultis was deeply shocked and eyewitnesses said he attempted to seek help for the victims. He was ”deeply moved” at the scene, the report said.
The Dakar, previously known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, has caused at least 50 deaths since it first ran 31 years ago.