This weekend’s 10th and 11th stages of the Dakar Rally were canceled on Friday amid security fears after reports of armed gangs awaiting drivers.

The crews were scheduled to leave Mauritania for a leg that took them to Mali and a stage that ran through both countries. But organizers late Friday announced the cancellation of both Saturday’s Nema-Mopti stage and Sunday’s stage from Mopti to Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso after receiving information from both French and Mali authorities about potential bandit activity.

Japan’s Hiroshi Masuoka closed the gap on overall leader and Mitsubishi teammate Stephane Peterhansel by winning the ninth stage in a time of 9 hours, 3 minutes, 43 seconds.

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