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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 17:47 GMT
Peterhansel tightens Dakar grip
Stephane Peterhansel
Peterhansel has stretched his overall lead to 21 minutes
Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel tightened his grip on the Dakar Rally by winning stage 10 in Mauritania.

The Frenchman beat Mitsubishi team-mate and former ski star Luc Alphand by one minute 27 seconds to stretch his lead to more than 21 minutes.

Former Dakar winner Jutta Kleinschmidt remained third but the VW driver lost over half an hour on Peterhansel.

Frenchman Cyril Despres won in the motorbike category to regain top spot from overnight leader Fabrizio Meoni.

Peterhansel completed the 483-km stage around the town of Atar in five hours 22 minutes 58 seconds.

I hit one small dune quite hard and there is a little front damage, but nothing too serious
Stephane Peterhansel
Peterhansel said: "It was a nice and varied stage. We passed along many tracks and dunes and a new pass off-road, where we had to climb a little.

"There was around 60 kilometres of camel grass and then some more dunes.

"I hit one small dune quite hard and there is a little front damage, but nothing too serious. It was good to drive together and the result of the stage has strengthened our position in the race."

Despres, meanwhile, took five hours 28 minutes 26 seconds, more than 10 minutes ahead of Meoni.

Marc Coma, third in the overall standings, lost a vital 15 minutes after running out of petrol, and finished the special stage in fifth place behind France's David Fretigne.

Peterhansel's Mitsubishi team were dealt a blow when two-time winner Hiroshi Masuoka was forced to withdraw because of engine problems after stopping at the 100km mark.

With Alphand also struggling with the same worries the team preferred to focus on the Frenchman's car instead.

The race is scheduled to finish in Dakar on Sunday.


SEE ALSO
Bike racer dies after Dakar crash
10 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Alphand cuts down Dakar deficit
08 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Bad weather wipes out Dakar stage
07 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Peterhansel moves into Dakar lead
06 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
McRae crashes out of Dakar Rally
05 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
McRae storms back into Dakar lead
04 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Gordon back on top in Dakar rally
03 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Stage win gives McRae Dakar lead
02 Jan 05 |  Motorsport
Gordon grabs early Dakar glory
31 Dec 04 |  Motorsport


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