Roma wins as Mini teammate Holowczyc takes overall lead in Dakar Rally

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Juan Roma won the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Argentina Tuesday as Mini teammate Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland took the lead in the overall standings.

It was the second stage win on the endurance rally for the team, with Roma coming home one minute and nine seconds ahead of the race leader at the end of the 208km leg from San Rafael to San Juan.

In the motorcycle section France’s three-time champion Cyril Despres took command on their longer 270km special to claim a decisive victory and take the overall lead.

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Despres, who made a poor start to the 14-day race, took more than 13 minutes off KTM teammate and defending champion Marc Coma of Spain, who trailed home seventh.

Dutch rider Frans Verhoeven took second with Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves in third.

But another French rider, Sebastien Coue, was admitted to hospital in San Rafael after he suffered a broken shoulder and heat stroke.

Argentinian rider Jorge Martinez Boero died of heart failure after a crash Sunday.

Stephane Peterhansel of France led the cars at the 41 km and 163 km checkpoints, but suffered two punctures in the last 50 kilometers.

He lost more than six minutes to Roma, who followed up on the stage one win over his teammate Leonid Novitskiy.


But NASCAR star Robby Gordon is still in contention after taking fifth on the leg in his Hummer to move up to second overall, just 54 seconds behind Holowczyc.

2009 winner Giniel De Villiers is in third, one minute 40 seconds down in a close race between the main contenders.

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