Sport Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa in action during the first stage of the Rally Dakar 2014

Carlos Sousa held off a trio of Minis to claim stage one in the car classification as the two-week Dakar Rally got under way in Argentina.

Star of

Matt Butler: Idris Elba's rallying call that might even make us lay off the new year chocolates

View from the sofa: Idris Elba: King of Speed, BBC 2

Rallying: Sébastien Ogier wins Wales Rally to crown his title triumph

Sébastien Ogier crowned his remarkable World Rally Championship-winning season in style by clinching victory at the Wales Rally GB yesterday.

Rally car careers off track and hits spectators

A father flipped over the top of a rally car after his two young sons “flew up into the air”, when the vehicle careered off the track and hit spectators at the Royal Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Stephen Ireland of Stoke City

Capital One Cup: Stephen Ireland praised after scoring in Stoke City victory over Tranmere

Mark Hughes singles out the midfielder

World's most popular blogger is Chinese

Have you ever heard of Han Han? No, neither have most people... except for that massive audience that just happens to make him the world's most popular blogger! As Duncan Hewitt reports for Newsweek, in a piece republished on The Daily Beast: "If the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan, 57, is one of the elder statesmen of Chinese writing, Han, at 30, is its rising star—and its enfant terrible."

Rallying: Loeb chalks up untroubled win

Frenchman Sebastien Loeb dominated the Rally Germany to win the race for the ninth time yesterday.

Rallying: Loeb stretches his advantage after testing rally in Greece

Sébastien Loeb extended his World Rally Championship lead to 31 points after he clinched his fourth victory from this year's six rallies in Greece yesterday.

Sébastien Loeb (right) and co-driver Daniel Elena celebrate victory in Monte Carlo as the Frenchman bids for a record ninth world title

Rallying: Loeb crowned king of Monte Carlo once again

The eight-time world champion Sébastien Loeb continued his dominance of the Monte Carlo Rally by completing his sixth career victory in the event yesterday.

Loeb extends his Monte Carlo lead

Sébastien Loeb of Citroën extended his lead in the Monte Carlo rally yesterday, but another Frenchman, Sébastien Ogier, crashed heavily and retired.

Kimi Raikkonen returns to F1 after a spell in rally driving

Lotus deny Kimi Raikkonen deal is marketing ploy

Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar has dismissed claims the signing of Kimi Raikkonen was nothing more than a stunt to improve the team's PR.

Williams should sign Raikkonen, says McLaren principal

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has today urged Sir Frank Williams to bring Kimi Raikkonen back to Formula One.

Rallying: Loeb surges past unlucky Hirvonen

Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead in the World Rally Championship standings to seven points over Mikko Hirvonen after completing a consummate victory in Sardinia yesterday.

Rallying: Ogier rules Rally of Portugal again

Sebastien Ogier beat Citroen team mate and fellow Frenchman Sebastien Loeb to win the Rally of Portugal for the second year in a row yesterday and make amends for a costly crash in Mexico. Seven-times champion Loeb finished second, 31.8 seconds behind, in a repeat of last year's result. Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala was a lonely third for Ford, with team-mate Miko Hirvonen a long way back in fourth. The result was the Citroen team's first one-two finish of the season, making up for the one that got away in Mexico this month, when Ogier crashed out on the final day after leading overnight. "They [the team] showed trust in me since the start of the season and following my mistake in Mexico," Ogier said. "It is the best way to come back. It is a long way to go in the championship but I'm in a better position."

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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape