Published: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 9:41:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 11:34:07 AM
Sainz out of 2013 Dakar
CALAMA (Chile): Former Dakar Rally champion Carlos Sainz saw his 2013 title bid grind to a halt on Thursday in the sands of Chile with the Spaniard admitting he may never return to take on the gruelling event.
Sainz, the 2010 champion, was forced to retire when the engine on his Buggy failed at the 172km mark of the 438km sixth stage, bringing to an end a roller-coaster Dakar for the 50-year-old.
After winning the first two stages, he subsequently fell badly out of contention. "I'm not sure whether I'll come back," admitted Sainz, a former two-time world rally champion.
"I've had a lot of problems since the start, and today just took the biscuit. Something must have broken in the engine, but I don't know exactly what. It just happened all of a sudden.
"There wasn't any temperature warning or anything. It's a new vehicle which hasn't been driven that much. It all happened very quickly."
Sainz's teammate Nasser al-Attiyah had a much more successful day.
The Qatari slashed 10-time champion Stephane Peterhansel's lead by over eight minutes as the 2011 winner stormed to victory on the stage.
Al-Attiyah started the day at 9min 54sec behind defending champion Peterhansel, but finished just 1min 18sec off the overall lead, winning his third stage of this year's event. - AFP