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Carlos Sainz Increases Lead in Dakar Rally

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz has increased his lead in the car section while Marc Coma of Spain leads the motorcycle division after the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally in Tan Tan, Morocco.

Sainz, a double World Rally Championship winner, finished Wednesday's stage in a Volkswagen in 3:36:39. That was 30 seconds faster than Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel of France.

Last year's runner-up Giniel De Villiers of South Africa, also in a VW, was third, 1:41 back. Defending champion Luc Alphand of France was fourth.

In the motorcycle division, Esteve Pujol of Spain won the stage aboard a KTM in 3:56:22. Compatriot and overall leader Marc Coma was second 1:54 back. Frenchman Cyril Despres was third overall, more than five minutes behind Pujol. The top five finishers rode KTM's.

Sainz leads the car standings by three minutes, 36 seconds over De Villiers. Coma leads Pujol in the overall motorcycle standings by nearly 10 minutes.

The rally continues Thursday with the longest stage from Tan Tan to Zouérat in Mauritania. Competitors will cover 817 kilometers with 394 kilometers of timed special stage. The rally ends in Dakar, Senegal January 21.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.