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Dakar Rally Rain-plagued rally sees stage slashed

The run from La Paz to Uyuni will now be reduced to 161km, with over 600km, instead of 300km, in liaison.

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Aerial view of the 2017 Dakar Rally podium ceremony in La Paz, Bolivia on January 7, 2017 play

Aerial view of the 2017 Dakar Rally podium ceremony in La Paz, Bolivia on January 7, 2017

(AFP/File)

Dakar Rally organisers have been forced to slash Monday's seventh stage as the gruelling 9,000km race continues to be plagued by torrential rain in Bolivia.

The run from La Paz to Uyuni, which should have featured a 322km timed stage, will now be reduced to 161km, with over 600km, instead of 300km, in liaison.

Bolivia's stages in the race have been badly affected by the weather with Friday's run from Tupiza to Oruro shortened and Saturday's Oruro to La Paz stage cancelled completely.

Twelve hours of heavy rain fell on Friday night leaving large parts of the Oruro bivouac sinking in 20cm of mud and forcing competitors and fans to cover their shoes with plastic bags as they sloshed through the quagmire.

As the 39th running of the Dakar heads into its second week, defending champion Stephane Peterhansel has a 1min 09sec lead over Peugeot teammate and nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb in the auto standings.

In the race for the motorcycling title, Englishman Sam Sunderland of KTM has a 7min 07sec advantage over Portuguese Paulo Goncalves.

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