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Midday Motorsport News Round-up


Sainz contines to lead Dakar marathon rally; Ferrari F1 car debuts next Monday; A1GP to race in South America for first time.


Al-Attiyah fights back in Dakar

Qatar driver, Nassar Al-Attiyah, won stage three of the 2008 Dakar Rally in South America on Monday, but a puncture prevented him from cutting into former world rally champion Carlos Sainz's overall lead.

Al-Attiyah also won Saturday’s opening stage in his X-Raid BMW before losing the lead when he went off-course and got lost on Sunday, dropping around six minutes.

That allowed stage two winner Sainz to take the overall lead in his Volkswagen Touareg.

Yesterday’s puncture in the final section of the 600km-plus stage meant Al-Attiyah beat Sainz by only 35 seconds, and the Spaniard’s lead is now 3m 40s.

Al-Attiyah said he had to swerve to avoid a motorbike, hit sharp rocks and had to stop and change the wheel, losing about two minutes.

Sainz's teammate Giniel de Villiers dropped from second to third overall, and the Mitsubishi Rally Lancers had a bad day.

Mechanical problems saw Luc Alphand (pictured) stop for almost 30 minutes, and 2007 Dakar winner, Stephane Peterhansel, couldn’t keep pace with the BMW or VWs and is fourth overall, five and a half minutes down.

American all-rounder and multiple Baja winner, Robby Gordon, is ninth overall in his Hummer.
Overall placings after stage three: 1. Carlos Sainz, VW; 2. Nassar Al-Attiyah, BMW; 3. Giniel de Villiers, VW; 4. Stephane Peterhansel, Mitsubishi; 5. Joan Roma, Mitsubishi; 6. Mark Miller, VW; 7. Orlando Terranova, BMW; 8. Krzysztof Holowczyc, Nissan; 9. Robby Gordon, Hummer; 10. Luc Alphand, Mitsubishi.

Ferrari first to show 2009 F1 car

Ferrari will debut its 2009 Formula 1 car at its Maranello, Italy, headquarters on January 12, and Felipe Massa will test it at the Fiorano track later in the day.

Toyota launches its new car on January 15, and McLaren a day later. Renault, Williams and BMW Sauber show theirs the following week.

All 2009 cars will have lower and wider front wings and narrower and taller rear spoilers to meet new rules. Cars will race on slick tyres.

A1GP to end series in Brazil

A1GP has added a new race to its 2008/2009 series, a season closer at Interlagos, Brazil, on May 17.

It replaces a race that was set to be run at an unnamed venue on March 29.

The series was due to finish at Brands Hatch, England, on May 3, and the Brazilian finale is A1GP's first race in South America.

The circus comes to New Zealand on January 23-25 for a round at Taupo where Chris van der Drift will drive the NZ entry, Black Beauty.

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