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Jutta Kleinschmidt
"I got no help from Hiroshi, in fact we helped him"
 real 14k

Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 16:44 GMT
Kleinschmidt makes rally history
Jutta Kleinschmidt beat team mate Hiroshi Masuoka
Jutta Kleinschmidt beat team mate Hiroshi Masuoka
German Jutta Kleinschmidt became the first woman to win the Paris-Dakar rally on Sunday, after completing the last 25-kms timed stage in Dakar.

The Mitsubishi driver beat Japanese team mate Hiroshi Masuoka, while Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, the winner in 1999 and last year, finished third in his Buggy.

"It's unbelievable," said the 38-year-old Kleinschmidt.

"But we did what we had to do by not taking too many risks.

"The car was very solid but it was not the fastest. But we did not make any navigation mistakes and we did not make any driving mistakes," she added, paying homage to her co-driver, Andreas Schulz.

Schlesser looked set to win for a third time in succession after Saturday's penultimate stage, which he won, before he was handed a one-hour penalty for "unsportsmanlike behaviour".

The Frenchman was punished for starting the stage ahead of Masuoka, who was then leading the rally and should have started first.

Jutta Kleinschmidt and Jean-Louis Schlesser
Kleinschmidt is chased by Schlesser through the African scrub

The Japanese driver, who led the race for 11 days, broke his rear left wheel after 25 kms, losing all hope of victory on the eve of the rally finish.

Schlesser earned the consolation of winning the last stage, a 25-km timed section on the banks of the Lac Rose (the Pink Lake), outside Dakar.

Italian Fabrizio Meoni led a KTM clean sweep of podium places in the motorcycle section with Spaniard Jordi Arcarons second and Chile's Carlo de Gavardo third.

The Austrian constructor's first victory in the rally was an impressive one as KTM riders took the top five places in the final standings.

Meoni, 43, finished fifth in the last stage, won by Finland's Kari Tianen, also on a KTM.

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See also:

21 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
The woman who beat the desert
20 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
Schlesser penalised after taking lead
19 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
Masuoka looks comfortable
18 Jan 01 |  Other Sports
Schlesser closes on leader
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