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Alphand, Coma Lead Dakar Rally

Rally Racing Topics:  Dakar Rally

Alphand, Coma Lead Dakar Rally

VOA Sports
Voice of America
January 13, 2006

Frenchman Luc Alphand has won the 13th stage of the Dakar Rally on a day marred by tragedy when a child was killed after being hit by a car.

Alphand, in a Mitsubishi, finished the 348-kilometer timed section of the stage (between Labé, Guinea, and Tambacounda, Senegal) in 4:30:15 seconds.

His time was 50 seconds faster than Spain's Carlos Sainz in a Volkswagen.  South Africa's Giniel De Villiers was third (1:42 off the lead) in another Volkswagen.

Alphand, a former alpine skiing star, leads De Villiers by more than 22 minutes in the overall standings with only two stages left.  Friday's stage was marred by the death of a young boy, who was struck as he crossed the road by Latvian Maris Saukans just six-kilometers before the village of Kourahoye.

In the motorcycle section, six KTM's crossed the line first.  Italian rider Giovanni Sala won the stage (in 5:03:49).  Cyril Despres of France was second, 3:12 seconds back, with compatriot Alain Duclos third.

Marc Coma of Spain finished fourth, but remains the overall leader more than 31 minutes ahead of Despres.  Saturday's penultimate stage covers 634-kilometers from Tambacounda to Dakar with a 254-kilometer timed section.  The Rally ends in Dakar Sunday.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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