Alonso leads Red Bulls in final practice

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Fernando Alonso has finished the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix quickest ahead of qualifying later today.

The Ferrari driver posted a fastest lap of 1:33.247 to edge out the Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Alonso, like most of the field, set his fastest time on the medium compound tire, although Felipe Massa could not improve on the options and ended up P11.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton followed the Red Bulls, although a tire failure caused severe damage to the Briton’s Mercedes W04 after the checkered flag had fallen. Romain Grosjean showed signs of improvement by finishing 6th, with Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta finishing 7th and 8th for Force India, continuing their good form. Compatriots Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten for Mercedes and Sauber respectively.

McLaren continued to stuggle in Bahrain, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez only capable of finishing 12th and 13th. The Mexican driver is in need of a good result following the worst start by a McLaren rookie in over twenty years.

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Many drivers were caught out as they tried to push their cars to the limit in Bahrain, with Alonso even finding the gravel at one stage. Vettel had a run in with Charles Pic late on in the session as the Caterham driver attempted to reclaim track position, but it was even worse for Marussia. Max Chilton suffered a KERS failure, whilst a fire on Jules Bianchi’s car temporarily halted his running. Neither driver could beat Pic, who was easily the quickest backmarker.

The battle for pole position looks set to be a close one with four teams all in with a chance of starting at the front for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. However, it appears that three-time winner in Bahrain Fernando Alonso is best placed to claim his first pole position of the season following a strong performance in FP3.

MORE: Watch qualifying and the Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your phone or tablet

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup