Vatanen wins first African test

Ari Vatanen took his 50th stage win on the Dakar Rally as the 2004 running of the desert classic moved into Africa for the first time on Sunday

Vatanen wins first African test

The Finn's Nissan Pickup beat overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by 10-seconds on the 750km test, which included a 75km special stage, between Tangier and Er Rachidia. Miki Biasion's Mitsubishi was third quickest on the day, ahead of Scotland's Colin McRae, whose Nissan was 41secs off team-mate Vatanen's pace.

In the overall standings, Peterhansel holds a 1m07s lead over Biasion, with Gregoire De Mevius another 21secs in arrears in his BMW. Vatanen's stage win moves him up to fourth, while McRae is now sixth on his Dakar debut.

Following their first brief taste of Africa today, the serious business begins tomorrow with a testing 337km special stage.



Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) 1hr12m20s
Biasion (Mitsubishi) +1m07s
de Mevius (BMW) +1m28s
Vatanen (Nissan) +1m28s
Masuoka (Mitsubishi) +1m37s
McRae (Nissan) +1m55s

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