Dakar Rally: Sainz wins stage four

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Spain's Carlos Sainz claimed his third victory of the 2006 Dakar Rally on Tuesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate:

Spain's Carlos Sainz claimed his third victory of the 2006 Dakar Rally on Tuesday, setting the pace on stage four in Morocco to move back to the top of the overall standings. Sainz completed the 386 kilometre timed section from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate in three hours, 52 minutes and 48 seconds. A third win in four stages saw the Spanish Volkswagen driver reclaim his lead at the top of the overall standings. Magnaldi in second place Second place on Tuesday's stage went to Thierry Magnaldi, who finished two minutes off the pace, while another Frenchman, former alpine skier Luc Alphand, came third to move into fourth place overall. South African Giniel De Villiers finished the stage in fourth place, ahead of Bruno Saby in fifth and Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt in sixth. Subsequently, Frenchman Saby moved into second place in the standings, with Kleinschmidt up to third. Hiroshi Masuoka had started the day in second place overall, but struggled to reach the finishing line after rolling his Mitsubishi twice. Masuoka slips The Japanese driver, who won the Dakar Rally in 2002 and 2003, slipped down to 13th overall, but he would later withdraw from the event as his Pajero Evo 4 was adjudged to be damaged beyond repair. There were no such problems for Isidre Esteve Pujol on the first stage of this year's rally that headed into Morocco's potentially treacherous sand dunes. The Spaniard was the fastest motorbike rider over the stage with a time of four hours, 13 minutes and one second. That first-place finish lifted Esteve Pujol and his KTM up from ninth place in the overall motorbikes standings to second. He would sit four minutes and 51 seconds behind overall leader Marc Coma, who steered his KTM to second place on Tuesday. The Spaniard went close to achieving his first stage win of the 2006 competition, but finished 28 seconds behind his compatriot. A much larger margin separated second and third place - Chile's Carlo de Gavardo a further four minutes and 47 seconds behind Coma. Defending Dakar Rally motorbikes champion Cyril Despres remains in third place overall. The French KTM rider finished the stage in fourth place and sits five minutes and six seconds behind Coma in the standings. (AP)

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