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Cyril Despres was all smiles on Tuesday after winning stage three of the Dakar Rally.

But it was a double victory for France’s three-time champion as with the stage win he also earned the overall race lead.

The 37-year-old holds an overall lead of 10 minuntes 12 seconds over main rival and defending champion Marc Coma of Spain.

It was a dreadful day for Coma who had gone into the 270 kilometre stage from San Rafael to San Juan nearly three minutes ahead of his team-mate.

But the Spaniard suffered a major navigational error to finish 13 minutes behind off the pace.

Mixed fortunes for the mini contingency in the car category – Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc took the overall lead as team-mate Nani Roma won the stage to climb to fourth in the standings.

Holowczyc was 1 minute and 9 seconds slower than Roma but it was enough to move him into the top spot

Mini’s Stephane Peterhansel, who was leading the show before the stage suffered two punctures and dropped over six minutes to Roma leaving the nine time winner fifth overall.

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