If you don’t want to get dust in your eye on the Dakar Rally, the best place to be is out in front. As reigning champion in the car class and unbeaten in over a year, Carlos Sainz is a safe bet to be at the business end of the race. We invite you to squeeze in between Carlos and his co-driver, Lucas Cruz, and enjoy the 2011 Dakar Rally from El Matador’s perspective…
Day 2 – Victoria to Cordoba (758km; timed special 192km)
Carlos finishes in 2h 18m 32s to win the stage, Carlos leads the Dakar by 1m 31s from Stephane Peterhansel...
“We always knew that we would meet a tough stage right at the beginning of this Dakar. Thing were made even tougher by a heavy rainstorm which started when we were just 30km into the stage.
“We had a little trouble with our wipers which meant that visibility was greatly reduced. It was starting to become a real problem for us but then luckily the rain disappeared as quickly as it had come. The strange conditions actually reminded me of the Rally of Great Britain.
“The rain meant that an already difficult course became even trickier. The course became slippery and this became a big issue in the tight bends. Fortunately soft mud is something I have experience driving on so we were able to maintain a good speed.
“People have told me it must be great to win the first stage after not managing it last year, but I have to remind people that in 2010 I was stuck in a dust cloud behind Robby Gordon as we left Buenos Aires!
“Obviously it's great to open the Dakar with the fastest time on the special stage but it really doesn’t mean anything at this point in time. We have not even eaten the first peanut which comes before a big lunch. We must just keep going and going before we have a clear idea how things stand.
“Because of the changes made to this year’s route I actually have no idea what is coming up tomorrow. I need to check with my co-driver, Lucas Cruz, and see what he has found in the roadbook. All I know at this point is that it's something like 320km long.
“One thing I know for sure is that there will be plenty more surprises tomorrow and in the days to come.”