13th stage of Dakar marred by boy's death

PARIS -- Former top French skier Luc
Alphand had victory in sight in the Dakar Rally after winning
Friday's 13th stage marred by the death of a young boy hit by a
race car.

Alphand, driving a Mitsubishi, extended his overall lead by
clocking the fastest time over the day's 348-km timed section on
narrow dirt tracks between Labe, Guinea, and Tambacounda,

The boy, who had come with his parents to watch the rally
pass just outside the Guinean village of Kourahoye, 25 km into
the stage, was hit as he crossed the road.

"A young boy that had come with his family to see the rally go
by was hit by vehicle No. 420 of the car class while crossing the
track," organizers said. "He immediately received treatment from
the medical staff of the rally, but died during his transfer by
helicopter to Labe."

Saukans drives with Dambis Andris. Friday's stage runs from Labe
to Tambacounda, Senegal.

The boy is the second casualty of this year's rally after
Australian motorcyclist Andy Caldecott died in a crash during
the ninth stage on Monday.

Alphand, the 1997 Alpine skiing World Cup champion, won the
day's stage ahead of twice world rally champion Carlos Sainz of
Spain and South African Giniel De Villiers, both driving
Volkswagen Touraeg prototypes.

Alphand, who was the world's best downhiller before
switching to rallying, was more than 22 minutes ahead of De
Villiers overall with two stages remaining before the race ends
in Dakar on Sunday.

In the motorcyle section, the KTM riders continued to
dominate, filling the top six spots. Italian Giovanni Sala won
ahead of Frenchmen Cyril Despres and Alain Duclos. Spaniard Marc
Coma came fourth to retain the overall lead.

The gruelling race across seven countries and covering more
than 9,000 km started in Lisbon on Dec. 31.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.