Title holder sainz wins opening leg of dakar rally | sports | Hindustan Times
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Title holder sainz wins opening leg of dakar rally

sports Updated: Jan 04, 2011 00:01 IST

Defending champion Carlos Sainz of Spain won the opening leg of the 2011 Dakar Rally Sunday.

The former world rally champion completed the 788-km stage from Victoria to Cordoba one minute, 31 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Stéphane Peterhansel of France in a BMW. Third place went to Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, one of four drivers in a VW Race Touareg.

The rally began Saturday with a so-called liaison stage that saw 407 drivers race off-road from Buenos Aires to Victoria, a distance of 377 km.

The race is taking place in Argentina and Chile for the third consecutive year, after security problems drove it out of its original location in Africa.

The Dakar Rally, with more than 9,500 km including 5,000 km of specials, is to end Jan 15 also in the Argentine capital, where winners are to be celebrated a day later. This edition, like its predecessors, will feature key stages in northern Chile's challenging Atacama Desert.

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