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Boy hit by truck, dies; Alphand leads after 14th stages

DAKAR, Senegal -- For the second day in a row, a boy died after being hit by a vehicle involved in the Dakar Rally.

A support truck hit and killed a 12-year-old boy Saturday, said organizers of the cross-continental road race -- which ends Sunday.

The truck struck the boy during the 14th stage on a road reserved for support vehicles. Police were investigating the accident, which occurred between the Senegalese cities of
Tambacounda and Dakar.

On Friday, a boy watching the rally in neighboring Guinea was struck and killed by a competitor's car.

In Saturday's racing, former Alpine skier Luc Alphand was on course for his first stage lead, but the Frenchman finished eighth on the penultimate stage after taking a wrong track.

Spaniard Marc Coma maintained his lead in the motorcycle section. He was runner-up on the 634-km stage, which included a 254-km section through Senegal from Tambacounda to Dakar, 33 seconds behind Frenchman David Fretigne.

Motorcycle title holder Cyril Despres lost more than 40 minutes on the stage. He remained second overall but was one hour and 13 minutes adrift of the KTM driver.

French BMW driver Guerlain Chicherit beat team mate Alfie Cox of South Africa by three minutes and 13 seconds in the car competition. Mark Miller of the United States was third at 5:07, driving a Volkswagen.

Alphand, in a Mitsubishi, led Volkswagen rival Giniel De Villiers by 17:53 in the overall standings.

South African De Villiers also made a navigation mistake during the leg and was fifth on the line but only gained 4 minutes and 20 seconds on Alphand, the 1997 overall skiing World
Cup champion.

The Dakar race covers 5,619 miles in 15 stages on a route through 40
countries from Lisbon, Portugal, to the Senegalese capital.

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