French desert force

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 1995, 12:00am

OUTSIDER Jean-Pierre Fontenay of France stole the show from the race favourites by winning the ninth stage of motorsport's Dakar Rally in the Mauritanian sands.

Fontenay, driving a Mitsubishi, was fastest in the day's 347-kilometre leg from Chinguetti with Finn Ari Vatanen taking second place in a Citroen three minutes and 34 seconds behind.

Four-time winner Vatanen was leading the race on Monday when a broken radiator cost him all chance of a fifth title.

Defending champion Pierre Lartigue, who took over the overall lead from Vatanen, is now widely favoured to retain his title.

He drove cautiously to end the stage in fifth position in his Citroen.