McRae adds to first stage win with second place

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The Independent Online

Colin McRae followed up his first-ever stage win on the Dakar Rally by taking second place yesterday.

The Scotsman, who achieved the impressive feat of winning a stage on his Dakar debut on Wednesday, continued his good form since nearly retiring from the event with transmission problems on his Nissan.

He was twice stuck in sand dunes last week and just managed to stay with the event into its final week. That effort has proved worthwhile, with McRae confirming his pedigree by taking second on Thursday, 14min 20sec behind the stage winner, the former downhill skier Luc Alphand.

Stephane Peterhansel's third place yesterday extends his overall lead over the Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka to one hour 5min 4sec. Jean Louis Schlesser, a former Formula One driver, is in third place.

Joan Roma's third place on stage 14 of the motorcycle event keeps him on top of the overall standings, less than 10 minutes clear of Richard Sainct. Cyril Despres won his third stage of the event and is now third overall.

Roma was pleased with his day's work, even though he lost time after briefly getting lost. "I made a navigation mistake at around 30km from checkpoint one," he admitted. "It was a shame, because all was going well.

"But what I'm satisfied about is that I kept my calm when I saw that I was losing five minutes on Sainct," he added. "I accelerated and took three minutes on him. I'm very happy to have adapted and then kept the same rhythm because there were still many kilometres."

DAKAR RALLY 14th stage (547km special stage, Ayoun El Atrous to Tidjikja, Mauritania): Cars: 1 L Alphand (Fr) BMW 6:51:07; 2 C McRae (GB) Nissan +14:20; 3 S Peterhansel (Fr) Mitsubishi +18:30; 4 JL Schlesser (Fr) Schlesser-Ford +20:15; 5 H Masuoka (Jpn) Mitsubishi +21:05; 6 J Kleinschmidt (Ger) Volkswagen +23:09; 7 G De Villiers (SA) Nissan +31:57; 8 A Mayer (Ger) Mitsubishi +35:41; 9 B Saby (Fr) Volkswagen +49:19; 10 N Saleh Al Attiyan (Qatar) Mitsubishi +50:00.

Leading overall standings: 1 Peterhansel 43hr 46min 03sec; 2 Masuoka +1hr 5min 04sec 3 Schlesser +2:31:44; 4 Alphand +3:38:29; 5 Mayer +5:21:35; 6 Saby +6:14:49; 7 Thierry Magnaldi (Fr) Honda +7:54:36; 8. De Villiers +8:03:32; 9 Al Attiyan +8:51:55; 10 McRae +17:07:30.

Motorcycles: 1 C Despres (Fr) KTM 6hr 55min 10sec; 2 A Cox (SA) KTM +1min 23sec; 3 N Roma (Sp) KTM +4:14; 4 R Sainct (Fr) KTM +6:29; 5 D Fretigne (Fr) Yamaha +9:22; 6 F Meoni (It) KTM +14:23; 7 J Vinters (Lat) KTM +17:50; 8 P-G Lundmark (Swe) KTM +18:32; 9 P A Ullevalseter (Nor) KTM +25:14; 10 I Esteve Pujol (Sp) KTM 35:36.

Leading overall standings: 1 Roma 46hr 16min 24sec; 2 Sainct +9min 40sec; 3 Despres +41:25; 4 Cox +43:43; 5 Lundmark +1hr 18min 49sec; 6 Ullevalseter +1:42:47; 7 Meoni +3:06:57; 8 Fretigne +3:07:26; 9 C De Gavardo (Chile) KTM +3:26:04; 10 F Flick (Fr) KTM +3:35:59.