Rallying: Army ends Duttons' ordeal

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The Independent Online
Novice rally-drivers, Mark and Simon Dutton, the only British team competing in the Paris-Dakar rally , were rescued from the Sahara desert yesterday, just hours before they ran out of food and water.

The brothers, driving an eight-year-old Land Rover, lost their transmission late on Friday night in a corner of the desert littered with minefields. Refusing assistance from the rally organisers, the pair tried to repair their stricken car, but neither has any mechanic's training.

The Moroccan army were alerted by rally organisers and scrambled a rescue party late on Saturday night. A decision has yet to be made by the Moroccan authorities whether to invoice the brothers for the cost of the rescue, which could run into thousands of pounds.

The rally will restart this morning, following a 24-hour stop-over in Zouerat. The car class is led by Ari Vatanen of Finland, and the motorcycle section by the Spaniard, Jordi Arcarons. Just two-thirds of the original 239 starters remain in the rally, which finishes in Dakar on Sunday.