Weekly motorsport update - Dakar latest

Our weekly motorsport update for January 14 focuses on the Dakar Rally and WRC

Volkswagen Polo WRC Monte Carlo rally testing

In the first of evo.co.uk’s new weekly series of motorsport round-ups, all eyes are on rallying, both in Europe and South America.

Stephane Peterhansel leads the Dakar Rally at the half-way point after an eighth stage that was heavily disrupted by a riverbed filled by heavy rain that was largely impassable. The Frenchman, driving a four-wheel-drive Mini, is leading Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, driving a buggy constructed specially for his effort by just over three minutes. The rally continues through northern Argentina this week, before finishing in the Chilean capital Santiago this weekend.

Al-Attiyah has also planned a World Rally Championship programme this year, but his Dakar participation means he has been forced to miss the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, which gets underway on Wednesday morning. Volkswagen makes its official return to rallying at the event with the debut of its Polo R WRC, with title contenders Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala driving. But Citroen’s semi-retired nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb is the favourite to win the Monte, the first of four events the Frenchman plans to contest this year.

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