Russia's Firdaus Kabirov, piloting the legendary Kamaz Team truck, has finished the ninth leg of the 2010 Dakar Rally in Chile in first place, some five minutes ahead of his countryman and teammate Vladimir Chagin.
Although this was only the second stage victory for reigning Dakar Champion Kabirov, it obstructed Chagin, who won five Dakar champion titles between 2000 and 2006, to set a record of overall stage victories. Chagin, nicknamed 'Tsar' and Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel 'Peter' share so far a record of 54 Dakar stage victories each.
However, Chagin is still enjoying a comfortable lead in the overall standings, winning seven out of nine stages, and is ahead of Kabirov by 1 hour 11 minutes, who is in turn followed in third place by the team of Marcel Van Vliet of the Netherlands in a Ginaf truck by over seven hours.
The 2010 Dakar Rally is the 32nd event. It is taking place in South America for the second successive year and runs until January 16. Last year marked the first time that the rally, founded in 1979, took place outside Africa, in South America, due to safety reasons.
Teams from 50 countries in 52 trucks, 160 motorcycles and 138 cars are taking part in the race that kicked off from the Obelisk on Buenos Aires's central 9th of July Avenue on New Year's Day.
The total racing distance is 9,030 km (5,610 miles) for cars and trucks, and 8,937 km (5,553 miles) for bikes and ATVs. There are seven stages in Argentina, and seven in Chile.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)