McRae takes control

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The Independent Online

Former world champion Colin McRae is tonight the overall leader in the Dakar Rally, after winning his second special stage on day five between Agadir and Smara.

Former world champion Colin McRae is tonight the overall leader in the Dakar Rally, after winning his second special stage on day five between Agadir and Smara.

The Scot hit back after his Nissan suffered a puncture yesterday, dropped down to 10th overall.

But the Nissan driver bounced back to augment his victory in Granada two days ago, flying to stage-four success with a six minutes and 15 second advantage over his team-mate Giniel De Villiers - with Jutta Kleinschmidt third more than another minute behind.

McRae is therefore 5mins 28 secs ahead of de Villiers overall, with today's fourth-placed driver Nasser Al Attiyah keeping hope alive for BMW. American Robby Gordon had been setting the pace before today.

Title-holder Stephane Peterhansel was 24mins behind McRae after a series of punctures today.

In the motorcycle category, Australian Andy Caldecott won his first ever stage on the Dakar. But his KTM team-mate Marc Coma, second on the day, moved into the overall lead.

The Aussie clocked the best time at the first checkpoint only for Coma to be fastest at the next two.

In the end, Caldecott had just a three-second margin of victory, with Cyril Despres third but more than three minutes behind.

Spain's KTM-Repsol rider Coma nonetheless retains a 42secs overall advantage.

Caldecott, who was forced out of his Dakar debut last year with a broken leg, took his first stage success with a time of four hours 13mins and 13secs.

Previous leader David Fretigne slipped up when he followed tracks which turned out to be from motorcycles not involved in the race.

As a result the Yamaha rider finished seventh today and dropped to seventh in the overall standings, more than nine-and-a-half minutes behind Coma.

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