Dakar rookie Sainz continues good start
MOTOR SPORT: Carlos Sainz kept up his perfect start to the Dakar Rally with a second stage win in Portugal.
But the former world rally champion believes he will not find out if he can win the event on his debut until the race reaches the deserts of North Africa.
The hilly course and slippery tracks between Portimao and Malaga in Spain suited the VW driver as he took his second stage win.
Sainz said: “Everything went fine today, I had even more pleasure than yesterday on the course.”
He added: “It's not that perfect to have the leadership before joining Africa. I'm still waiting for the desert to know what I can really do over there.”
Sainz took one hour, 34 minutes and 28 seconds to cover the stage, beating Frenchman Luc Alphand's Mitsubishi by 25 seconds.
Title holder Stephane Peterhansel was down in sixth after a puncture once again ruined his day.
Portugal's Ruben Faria made the most of local knowledge to win the motorcycle stage on his KTM.
Faria was riding on terrain he knows well and used his expertise to good effect as he kept new leader Isidre Esteve Pujol behind him during the day.
His time of 1:37.07 was over a minute faster than the KTM-Gauloises of Esteve.
Title-holder Cyril Despres, who had won the opening stage, was 11th on his KTM as he stayed in contention ahead of the tougher African stages.
Faria is still trying to make up a 12-minute time penalty and is well behind the leaders despite finishing second and first on the opening two days.