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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 17:40 GMT
Vatanen upstages favourites
Stephane Peterhansel in his Mitsubishi
Peterhansel continues to set the desert pace
Dakar Rally (stage nine)

Former world rally star Ari Vatanen won Friday's stage of the Dakar Rally as Mitsubishi's Stephane Peterhansel extended his lead in the overall standings.

Vatenen, one of the late starters, clocked a time of five hours, 38 minutes and 37 seconds in his Nissan on the 567km leg from Sabha to Zilla.

He edged out the Mitsubishi of Jean-Pierre Fontenay by seven seconds.

It was the former winner's first stage success since his last appearance in the event in 1996.

Belgian Gregoire de Mevius was third in a BMW, with Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka fourth.

Drivers exercised some caution following Kenijiro Shinozuka's serious crash on Thursday, but Peterhansel still gained 10 minutes on Hiroshi Masuoka in the overall standings.

Frenchman Richard Sainct took the lead in the motorbike race after pipping fellow KTM rider Fabrizio Meoni.

Italian Meoni was one minute and 44 seconds slower than Sainct on the stage and now trails his rival by just over a minute.

Spaniard Joan Roma, who had been lying third, was forced to retire because of a head injury.


Stage nine results:

Cars:
1. Ari Vatanen (Fin) Nissan 5hr 38min 37sec
2. Jean-Pierre Fontenay (Fra) Mitsubishi 5hrs 38mins 44secs
3. Stephane Peterhansel (Fra) Mitsubishi 5:39.37
4. Gregoire De Mevius (Bel) BMW 5:42.15
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (Jpn) Mitsubishi 5:49.50

Overall standings:
1. Peterhansel 20hrs 31mins 58secs
2. Masuoka 20:48.50
3. De Mevius 21:41.48
4. Fontenay 22:27.09

Motorbikes (all KTM):
1. Richard Sainct (Fra) 6hrs 1min 23secs
2. Fabrizio Meoni (Ita) 6:03.07
3. Jean De Azevedo (Bra) 6:06.27
4. Cyril Despres (Fra) 6:08.56

Overall standings:
1. Sainct 22hrs 58mins 31secs
2. Meoni 22:59.41
3. Despres 23:10.21
4. Jean Brucy (Fra) 23:45.08

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See also:

10 Jan 03 | Motorsport
08 Jan 03 | Motorsport
07 Jan 03 | Motorsport
06 Jan 03 | Motorsport
10 Jan 03 | Photo Galleries
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