DAKAR: Day 6 - Al-Attiyah extends lead Nasser Al-Attiyah increased his overall lead more than three-fold on day six of the Dakar Rally - but only after he missed a way point.
Al-Attiyah, who began the day 2 minutes 24 seconds ahead of Giniel de Villiers, completed the shortened 178 km run between San Rafael to Mendoza in 2 hours 7 minutes 26 seconds. That was good enough to allow the BMW man to stretch his overall lead to 7 minutes 31 seconds.
However, due to an overheating engine, he later admitted to having missed a way point and as such he may be penalized by the stewards.
"We missed a way point," he confirmed. "Due to the engine overheating, we couldn't go through the dunes. The temperature rose. The engine stopped and I preferred to choose a different route and avoid the dunes.
"When we push too hard, the engine temperature gets too high. It should have been repaired yesterday. If we can't repair this problem, then we won't be able to carry on. It is bad news, but we'll have to wait and see."
de Villiers was 'best of the rest', 5 minutes 7 seconds slower, while Mark Miller was third and Carlos Sainz fourth.
"It was quite tricky in the beginning in the dunes," said de Villiers. "A few times we had to turn around because we couldn't make it up some dunes. In some places it was very soft. If it hadn't rained last night, it would have been really, really tricky.
"The end of the stage was quite easy. In the Dakar, every day you have to finish the stage without problems and so far the Touareg is going very well. We've had no problems so far. There's still a week to go, so we need to keep it there in terms of our speed and reliability."
Top-6 after Stage 6
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah BMW X3 CC 2hrs 07m 26s
2. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 05m 07s
3. Mark Miller Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 05m 27s
4. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 08m 37s
5. Stephane Peterhansel Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 13m 14s
6. Nani Roma Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 14m 20s