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 Saturday, 11 January, 2003, 16:19 GMT
Tragedy hits Dakar Rally
Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka
Matsuoka claimed victory in the 10th stage
Dakar Rally (stage ten)

French co-driver Bruno Cauvy was killed in an accident on Saturday during the Dakar Rally's 10th stage.

According to race organiser Hubert Auriol, the driver of the Toyota car, Daniel Nebot, escaped with bruises after the car overturned and is being treated for back pains.

Doctors arrived at the scene of the crash in the Libyan desert, 270km into the 521km special stage, 27 minutes after being told of the accident, Auriol said.

Cauvy, 48, was reported to have died immediately after the car went out of control in sand dunes.

The organisers and the whole Dakar family express their sincerest condolences to [Cauvy's] family and friends

Dakar Rally spokesman
The last competitor to be killed during the rally was in Mali in 1997, while a member of the Toyota backup team was killed last year.

At the head of the field, Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka closed the gap on rival Stephane Peterhansel with victory in the stage.

Masuoka finished the stage between Zilla and Sarir in three hours, 46 minutes and 36 seconds.

Peterhansel of France came in two minutes, 46 seconds behind, followed by compatriot Jean-Pierre Fontenay in third place.

All three are driving Mitsubishis, the car that has dominated the rally since it began in the French port of Marseille at the start of January.

Peterhansel's lead has been cut from nearly 17 minutes to just over 14 minutes.

On Sunday the drivers and motorbikers will travel across the desert border into Egypt where, after a day of rest, the rally will restart on Tuesday at the oasis of Siwa.

Per-Gunnar Lundmark of Sweden was fastest in the motorbike race, beating Cyril Depres of France by three minutes, 47 seconds.

Frenchman Richard Sainct came in third and leads the overall rankings by 11 minutes, three seconds from Despres with Fabrizio Meoni of Italy is third position.

A two-time winner of the rally, Meoni had a disappointing time on Saturday, finishing nearly 41 minutes behind Lundmark.

Meanwhile, the condition of Kenjiro Shinozuka, who underwent surgery following a horrific crash in the rally, has improved.

However the Japanese driver admitted that his morale was low because he had failed to finish the race.

Shinozuka, who won the rally in 1997 and finished third last year, left intensive care on Saturday and said he felt a sense of failure.

"I feel better physically, I'm happy to be still alive. But there things aren't good," said Shinozuka, pointing to his heart.

Stage ten results:

1. Hiroshi Masuoka (Jpn) 3hr 46min 36sec,
2 Stephane Peterhansel (Fra) 3:49.22
3 Jean-Pierre Fontenay (Fra) 3:56.48
4 Miki Biasion (Ita) 3:57.44
5 Ari Vatanen (Fin) 3:59.22

Overall standings:
1. Peterhansel 24hrs 21mins 20secs
2. Masuoka 24:35.26
3. Gregoire De Mevius (Bel) 25:50.27
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (Ger) 26:15.44
5. Fontenay 26:23.57

Motorbikes (all KTM):
1. Per-Gunnar Lundmark (Swe) 4hr 22min 22sec
2. Cyril Despres (Fra) 4:26.09
3. Richard Sainct (Fra) 4:26.56
4. Carlo De Gavardo (Chi) 4:26.58,
5. Marc Coma (Spa) 4:27.02,

Overall standings:
1. Sainct 27hrs 25mins 27secs
2. Despres 27:36.30
3. Meoni 28:03.01
4. Jean Brucy (Fra) 28:13.08
5. Jean De Azevado (Bra) 28:20.37

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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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