Dakar: Sainz extends lead, motorcyclist seriously injured

Dakar: Sainz extends lead, motorcyclist seriously injured Copiapo, Chile  - Race leader Carlos Sainz on Tuesday continued dominating the Dakar rally when he won the 10th stage that was overshadowed by an accident in which Spanish motorcyclist Cristobal Guerrero was seriously injured.

Sainz in his Touareg seems destined to give VW their first-ever Dakar victory as he has a 24:54 minute lead over American Mark Miller, who is also driving a Touareg.

South African Geniel de Villiers completed a successful day for the German car manufacturer as he ended the day in third place, 41:13 minutes behind.

Sainz closes in on Buenos Aires and Dakar victory

Sainz closes in on Buenos Aires and Dakar victory Copiapo, Chile  - Spanish leader Carlos Sainz on Monday closed in on Buenos Aires and victory in the Dakar rally as he picked up his fifth stage win of the race.

There was was further good news for Sainz's VW team as Touareg team-mates Mark Miller and Giniel de Villiers finished the 537 kilometre ninth stage from the Chilean towns of La Serena to Copiapo in second and third place.

The toughest Dakar: mass withdrawals lead to shorter stages

The toughest Dakar: mass withdrawals lead to shorter stagesLa Serena, Chile  - The end of the 2009 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile is still a week away, but it is already clear that it will be one of the toughest editions in history, even before the Atacama Desert almost certainly makes things worse from Tuesday.

Mass withdrawals have forced organizers to shorten stages in recent days, in an effort to retain reasonable numbers of competitors.

Two die in Dakar rally support truck crash

Dakar RallyValparaiso, Chile - Two people died in connection with the Dakar Rally in a road accident, police said on Saturday.

Police said that a truck carrying equipment for the race collided with a smaller vehicle whose two occupants were killed in the incident on Friday some 400 kilometres north of Santiago de Chile.

The cause of the accident was not fully clear with some reports saying the truck driver did not give way to the smaller vehicle and others that the driver crossed the centre line of the road and collided with the other vehicle.

The truck driver was taken into custody.

Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes Chile

Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes ChileWashington  - A 6

Chilean right wing makes gains in local elections

Santiago - Chilean conservatives won a majority of mayoral seats in weekend elections, narrowly beating the ruling centre-left coalition for the first time since 1990.

Right-wing mayoral candidates won in the key municipalities of Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Temuco, Concepcion, Iquique, Rancagua, Talca and Punta Arenas.

The Alliance for Chile won 40 per cent of the total mayoral votes to 38 per cent for the ruling coalition, which did manage to keep the overall lead in seats on municipal councils by a margin of 45 to 36 per cent.

President Michelle Bachelet acknowledged the mixed results as a wakeup call for the coalition.