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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn