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Prince Albert of Monaco Monday dropped out the Paris-Dakar...

PARIS -- Prince Albert of Monaco Monday dropped out the Paris-Dakar rally due to engine trouble, and Patrick Zaniroli of France kept the overall lead in the 10th stage of the race.

Prince Albert abandoned the race just 18 kilometers before the end of the race's longest stage-a 1,244 kilometer run from Agadez, Niger, to Gao, Mali.

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Zaniroli, driving a Mitsubishi, held a 14 minute and 14 second lead over runnerup Cowan, also in a Mitsubishi. Guy Colsoul of France was in third, 48 minutes and 19 seconds from the leader.

Prince Albert was forced to quit the race when his Mitsuibishi experienced engine trouble he attributed to desert sands.

'We couldn't fix the engine,' he explained. The Prince said he was glad to have survived two weeks of the grueling 3-week rally, which he qualified as 'a test of character as much as a sports event.'

The race ends Jan. 22 in the Senegalese capital.

Albert's sister Princess Caroline, who drove a truck in the heavyweight category of the Paris Dakar with her husband Stephano Casiraghi, was forced to abandon when she crashed in the early days of the race begun Jan. 1.

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