Alphand closes in on first Dakar win as another specator killed (Roundup)
Jan 14, 2006, 18:31 GMT
Spanish driver Joan \'Nani\' Roma of the Repsol team drives his Mitsubishi during the last but one stage of the Dakar rally held on Saturday 14 January 2006 between Tambacunda and Dakar over 634 kilometers. EPA/REPSOL
Dakar, Senegal - Luc Alphand of France in a Mitsubishi stands on the verge of his first Dakar Rally win after finishing the penultimate stage of the 28th edition of the event with a lead of 17 minutes 53 seconds over Giniel de Villiers of South Africa.
The 254-kilometre long 14th stage from Tambacounda to the Senegalese capital Dakar was won by Guerlain Chicherit of France in a BMW.
The final stage takes place Sunday and is only 31 kilometres long giving second-placed de Villiers in his Volkswagen Touareg no chance of closing such a large gap.
Spain's Joan-Nani Roma, also in a Mitsubishi, remains third, 1 hour 50.38 seconds behind Alphand.
Winner for the last two years Stephane Peterhansel lies fourth, just three minutes ahead of American debutant Mark Miller.
Frenchman Cyril Despres' chances of repeating last year's win in the motorcycle category seem to have gone as the deficit to leader Marc Coma of Spain on a KTM has grown from 31.16 minutes to 1:13.29 hours. Italy's Giovanni Sala lies third.
The stage was overshadowed by the death of a 12-year-old boy who, according to organisers, was killed in an accident on a road used by vehicles servicing the rally.
This is the third death in this year's rally and 48th in the history of the event. On Friday, a 10-year boy died when was hit by by a car driven by Latvian Maris Saukans while motorcycle category competitor Andy Caldecott died last Monday.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur