Peterhansel leads Dakar Rally

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser won the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally between Tichit and Nema in Mauritania on Monday.

Peterhansel leads Dakar Rally

Mauritania:

Stage nine of the Dakar Rally took the competitors from Tichit to Nema in Mauritania.In the cars category, Giniel de Villiers led overnight in his Volkswagen, but Monday was to prove a day to forget for the South African.One-hundred and thirty kilometres into the special stage, the turbo of his Race Touareg Volkswagen caught fire, forcing De Villiers and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz to stop right in front of Elephants' Rock.Almost immediately, De Villiers conceded that his race was over, despite teammate Carlos Sainz stopping and handing Von Zitzewitz a fire-extinguisher.Sainz also had a bad day behind the wheel with electrical problems forcing a premature end to his race.De Villiers, in turn, battled to hide his disappointment, before being towed to the finish line. "It's just very sad, you know, for Volkswagen, because we've been really doing well this rally and the guys have put a lot of effort in to come to this point of performance, you know. And now, something small lets us down. But, anyway, we'll have to go and see what it is and we'll have to try again next time," he said.Overall leadStephane Peterhansel, who was just behind De Villiers in the stage, also had his share of bad luck on Monday, as a clutch problem forced him to stop and cost him approximately 10 minutes.Peterhansel went on to finish third in the stage, but managed to claim the overall lead, due to De Villiers' misfortune.Going into stage 10, Peterhansel will have a seven minutes and 50 seconds lead over Mitsubishi team-mate Luc Alphand, the defending champion.Alphand was second in Monday's stage, behind fellow Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser.Schlesser took advantage of his faltering rivals to claim victory in a time of five hours, 32 minutes and three seconds.His efforts ensured that he will start the next stage in fourth place overall, an hour, 25 minutes and 32 seconds behind Peterhansel.Surprise winMoving to the motorcycles section and there was a shock stage victory for Latvian Janis Vinters.Vinters, who finished 10th in last year's race, surprised everyone by producing the best times at all of the check points, before victoriously crossing the line seven minutes and 31 seconds ahead of Cyril Despres.This despite Vinters taking a bit of a tumble on his KTM, before getting up and racing to victory in six hours, eight minutes and 51 seconds.Despres managed to edge overall leader Marc Coma into third place on the day by just 22 seconds.Coma produced another strong and consistent ride. The finish saw Coma retain his healthy overall lead, 54 minutes and 36 seconds ahead of Despres.The 15-stage race began in Lisbon, Portugal, and ends in Dakar, Senegal, on January 21st.On Tuesday, the 10th stage takes competitors 400 kilometres round Nema.



Topics : Formula 1 Jean Louis Schlesser
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