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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 16:32 GMT
Masuoka takes Dakar lead
Matsuoka won the fifth stage by more than two minutes
Matsuoka followed up his win in the rally's third stage
Dakar Rally (stage 5)

Defending champion Hiroshi Masuoka took the overall lead in the Dakar Rally after Monday's fifth stage in Tunisia.

The Japanese driver had started in third after Sunday's fourth special stage.

But he roared back to overhaul Mitsubishi team-mate and six-time Dakar motorbike champion Stephane Peterhansel.

Masuoka covered the 285km fifth stage in two hours 31 minutes 59 seconds, giving him victory over his French rival by two minutes 20 seconds.

Another Japanese driver, Kenjiro Shinozuka, the rally winner in 1997, was third in a Nissan.

The same trio top the overall standings, with Masuoka now leading Peterhansel by 50 seconds and Shinozuka a further nine minutes 54 seconds adrift.

Double champion Richard Sainct extended his overall lead in the motorbike category by taking the fifth stage by 17 seconds from Fabrizio Meoni.

The French rider now leads Meoni by two minutes 25 seconds, with Spaniard Joan Roma in third place, four minutes 16 seconds back.

See also:

05 Jan 03 | Motorsport
03 Jan 03 | Motorsport
02 Jan 03 | Motorsport
01 Jan 03 | Motorsport
31 Dec 02 | Motorsport
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