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Al-Attiyah fights back to lead Dakar second stage

Xinhua, January 6, 2015 Adjust font size:

Nasser Al-Attiyah fought back after being stripped of victory in the first stage by taking an overall lead in Monday's second stage at 2015 Dakar Rally in Argentina.

Mini driver Al-Attiyah, 2011 champion, was punished for driving at 68km/h in a section of the opening stage where the limit was 50km/h and was therefore penalized two minutes and relegated from the top to seventh place.

However from Villa Carlos Paz to San Juan, Argentina - the longest stage of the entire event - Al-Attiyah put out an emphatic response as he took the 518km special stage by a margin of eight and a half minutes over Toyota's South African Giniel de Villiers. Al-Attiyah also took a lead in the the overall standings.

De Villiers's Toyota teammate Bernhard Ten Brinke was second at more than 10 minutes behind and those two now hold the same positions in the overall standings.

"We won the stage. This was a big thing today. This is the key of this Dakar. Now we can go calmly until the rest day," said Al-Attiyah.

"For the marathon day we can go really easily, but we will try every day to be like this. It was a plan today because we studied the stage very well."

Due to Al-Attiyah's penalty on Sunday, Orlando Terranova of Argentina took the first-stage win and appeared to be on his way to victory on Monday. But in the final 10 kilometers, he lost 20-odd minutes because of a crash. He has now fallen from the lead to 10th in the overall standings.

"It was 10km before the end. We came at it quite gently because we had some problem with the cooling temperature. But then in one moment, in a ditch the car rolled four times. But we're ok, no problems. We lost a lot of time. But we're still in the race," said Terranova.

In the motorbike section Spain's Joan Barreda Bort moved into the overall lead by taking victory on the second stage. He finished 6 minutes 13 seconds ahead of his Honda teammate Paulo Goncalves with fellow Spaniard Ruben Faria third on a KTM at 9 minutes 16 seconds.

This year's event, the seventh in South America since its enforced transfer for security reasons from Africa, is the 37th of all time. Endi

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