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Newman unscathed after crash

Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman escaped injury Saturday when the car he was testing caught fire after a spin at Daytona International Speedway.

Newman was testing a Daytona Prototype sports car for next month's Rolex 24 when he spun on the road course, said Adam Saal, Grand American Series spokesman. The car didn't hit anything, but when Newman tried to restart the engine it caught fire.

The fire was contained to the engine compartment, and Newman escaped without harm.

"I don't know what happened," said Newman, who returned to the track to watch one of his drivers, Sebastian Bourdais, test another car. "I'm fine. It just caught on fire somehow."

"Knowing Paul, I doubt if this changes his plans to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona," Saal said.

The 79-year-old Newman won the GTS class in the 1995 Rolex 24 and owns four championships in Sports Car Club of America competition.

DAKAR RALLY: Former World Cup champion skier Luc Alphandwon the ninth stage. Alphand covered the 224 miles from Tidjikja to Atar, Mauritania in 4 hours, 52 minutes, 39 seconds. French countryman Stephane Peterhansel finished 1:31 behind and kept the overall lead. NASCAR driver Robby Gordonwas third, 17:29 behind Alphand, who is second overall. The rally covers 5,566 miles from Barcelona to Dakar, Senegal. It ends Jan. 16.


Federer starts '05 on top

Roger Federer began 2005 the way he finished 2004: with a victory. Federer beat sixth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-1 in the Qatar Open final in Doha for his 21st straight match win. The Swiss star has won 13 tournament finals in a row, dating to October 2003, and appears to be in peak form heading into a title defense at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 17. The top-ranked and top-seeded Federer needed just 63 minutes to defeat Ljubicic and claim his 23rd career title in his 31st final.

HENIN-HARDENNE OUT: Defending Australian Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne pulled out of the Grand Slam with a right knee injury. Her withdrawal means the women's draw will not have either finalist from last year's tournament. On Thursday, fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters said she would not play due to a lingering left wrist injury.

OTHER TOURNAMENTS: Taylor Dent and Joachim Johanssonreached the final of the Australian men's hard-court championships in Adelaide. Fifth-seeded Dent defeated Juan Ignacio Chela 6-1, 6-1; second-seeded Johansson beat Olivier Rochus 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). Paradorn Srichaphanbeat Tomas Zib 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to reach his fourth straight final at the Chennai Open in Madras, India. He faces defending champion Carlos Moya, who hit 13 aces to top Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2). Slovakia won the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, beating Argentina behind victories by Daniela Hantuchovaand Dominik Hrbaty. Second-seeded Patty Schnyder won her ninth WTA Tour title, beating Samantha Stosur 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the Australian women's hardcourt final in Gold Coast.


U.S. gets gold by default

Germany's team show jumping gold medal will go to the United States after the International Equestrian Federation announced it had disqualified rider Ludger Beerbaum and horse Goldfever for a doping offense. Sweden will be awarded silver, and Germany will drop to the bronze because the sport's governing body erased Goldfever's results from the Athens event. Beerbaum, who has denied cheating, said the banned steroid betamethasone was contained in an ointment used to treat a skin irritation on the horse.


BOXING: Three-time champion Hector "Macho" Camacho was released from jail in Gulfport, Miss., after a friend paid part of his bond. Camacho was charged with burglary of a Gulfport computer shop. Biloxi police also charged him with drug possession after officers said they found him with 10 ecstasy pills in a hotel room when they arrested him Thursday.

COLLEGE SOCCER: Florida International senior defender Bobby Boswell, a Plant grad, was named to the NSCAA/adidas All-South first team.

HORSES: Slew's Final Answerwon the $60,000 Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs by more than three lengths. The 6-year-old daughter of Seattle Slew is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott for Live Oak Plantation. Diablosangeleyes passed Beautiful Honor for second.

OBITUARY: Bernard "Buddy" Diliberto, a New Orleans sports commentator who originated the tradition of fans wearing bags on their heads to lament losing teams, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 73.

WINTER SPORTS: Toby Dawsonled a United States sweep at a freestyle World Cup moguls event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Dawson scored 25.50 points to take first ahead of Jeremy Bloom (25.34) and Luke Westerlund (25.19).

Compiled from Times wires.