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French duo defend Dakar titles

French duo defend Dakar titles
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Frenchman Cyril Despres won his fifth Dakar Rally title in the bike category on Saturday.

The KTM rider took a sizeable lead into the 14th and final stage to Santiago in Chile and despite a 17th place finish it was enough to hold off his principle rivals and claim his first back-to-back win and his third victory in South America after triumphs in 2010 and last year.

He has also won the gruelling race twice in Africa.

KTM owned the final podium with Portuguese rider Ruben Faria finishing second overall ahead of Chile’s Francisco Lopez.

Stephane Peterhansel made it a French double after the Dakar veteran steered his Mini to overall victory in the car category to also defend his title.

The win extended Peterhansel’s record to 11 crowns – six times in the car class and five times on the bike.

A tenth place finish in the final stage was good enough for top honours ahead of South African 2009 winner Giniel De Villiers and Leonid Novistkiy of Russia who rounded off the overall podium.

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