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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 11:13 GMT

World: Africa

Dakar car rally gets underway

Hundreds of competitors taking part in the twenty-first annual Dakar car rally have set off from from the Spanish town of Grenada.

The defending champion, Jean-Pierre Fontenay and his Mitsubishi team are the favourites to win this year's race.

The sixteen stages will take the competitors through Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

For the past decade, wealthy official teams have dominated the nine-thousand kilometre event.

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