Nassar Al-Attiyah moved back into the lead of the Dakar Rally on Wednesday during a dramatic fifth stage. The X-Raid BMW driver had problems of his own, having to stop to attend to an overheating engine, but his dramas were much less serious than those suffered by erstwhile leader Carlos Sainz, who rolled his Volkswagen.
After the stage, Al-Attiyah spoke to autosport.com's Toby Moody about the day's events.
Q. Did you expect to be leading, or has it come to you? What was your pace?
Nassar Al-Attiyah: We caught Carlos after 250 kilometres, and after that we stayed behind him for 50kms because it's good that he opens the road, because in places it's very dangerous. After we overtook him, we pushed again.
Q. Were you trying to leave him behind?
NAA: Yeah. When we came to the dunes I was really pushing and I enjoyed it a lot, but after that the temperature of the engine had gone up because the grass had completely blocked the radiators and the cooling.
We stopped for 15 minutes, I took the plate out from the front and cleaned it, and after that Carlos was coming. After that, I stayed behind him, we followed him, and then we stopped again because the temperatures had gone up again, and after that we didn't see Carlos... I think he went into a hole. Big damage, eh?
Q. Sainz had a lot of damage, and Stephane Peterhansel was concerned he had cooked his engine...
NAA: Same, I had 15 minutes with no water in the engine. And I burned myself.
Q. What were the dunes like?
Q. Were they difficult, or just good fun?
NAA: Very high, and very long. It's not really technical - it's dunes. The bad thing is the trees in the dunes. If you don't take a good line, you get stuck.
Q. In the valley between the dunes?
NAA: Yes, because a lot of them are very high and have grass.