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Dakar kicks off

Published: 29 December 2004

Frenchman David Frétigné has taken the win in the opening stage of the Dakar 2005.

The 450 Yamaha rider decided not to use his two wheel drive system and finished eight seconds in the lead for the 6km special stage which took place in Catalunya over very soft sand.

Fellow French rider Cyril Despres took second place on his factory backed KTM Rally 660 ahead of Eric Verhoef on a KTM LC4.

The first Brit to cross the line was Mick Extance who took his Honda XR650 to 65th place. Mich Tomkinson took 85th and Clive Town took 95th both on KTMs, while Nick Plumb and Simon Pavey took 135th and 136th, both on BMW F650GSs. 158th place went to Alan Graham.

Almost half of the vehicles entering the rally this year are bikes with 228 two wheelers hoping to make it to the end of the gruelling 16 stage marathon and we'll be bringing you regular updates throughout the next two and a half weeks.

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