Tue, Jan 04, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Colin McRae takes Stage 3

AP , GRANADA, SPAIN

French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret race their Mitsubishi V60 during the third stage of Dakar Rally in Granada, Spain on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Scotland's Colin McRae won Sunday's third stage of the Dakar Rally to take the overall lead in the two-continent race as the event completed its route through Spain and headed to Africa.

McRae, a former World Rally champion, completed the day's 10km stage outside the southern Spansih city of Granada in 7 minutes, 48 seconds, six seconds faster than defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France, to climb atop the cars division with an overall time of 12:22.

"It was a very short distance and there won't be important differences," McRae said. "The car is going well and I have a very good feeling about this rally, I'm happy for now," added the Scottish driver.

American Robby Gordon, who won the first stage and held the overall lead, finished fifth in Sunday's stage in his Volkswagen, 15 seconds behind McRae, and slipped to No. 2 by one second.

"When you start in first position, its difficult because you dont have any reference but I managed some great jumps and my suspension is working very well. I pushed the car as much as possible," the US stock car veteran said.

South Africa's Giniel De Villiers was third, two seconds back, with Peterhansel fourth, another five seconds back.

Frenchman David Fretigne won the day's stage on his Yamaha and extended his lead atop the motorcycle division to 11 seconds, while Dutchman Hans Bekx led the truck category by 24 seconds.

This year's Dakar Rally will cover 8,956km between Barcelona and Dakar.

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