Defending champion Sainz wins Dakar first stage

Bisha (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) –

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Defending champion Carlos Sainz won the first stage of the Dakar Rally on Sunday.

The Spaniard, a three-time Dakar winner, covered the 277km special between Jeddah and Bisha in his Mini Buggy in 3hr 18min 56sec.

Sainz finished 25sec ahead of French teammate Stephane Peterhansel, with Czech Martin Prokop (Ford) rounding out the podium.

Monday's second stage sees competitors covering 685km, including a 457km special, between Bisha and Wadi Ad-Dawasir.