Alonso turns attention to constructors’ championship

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Fernando Alonso has said that he is not looking to merely finish in the top eight at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix to force Sebastian Vettel to wait another two weeks before becoming world champion, instead turning his attention to the constructors’ championship where Ferrari are embroiled in the battle for second place.

Should Alonso finish any lower than ninth this weekend and Vettel win the race, the German driver would enjoy an unassailable lead that would see him be crowned world champion for the fourth year in a row. For Alonso though, this is something of an inevitability, and he is turning his attention to the two Mercedes drivers in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship.

“The aim is definitely not just to finish in the first eight to keep the championship alive, because if Vettel doesn’t win here, he will do it in one of the next races, when the number of combinations that can affect the result will be less,” Alonso said after qualifying. “Now we need to pick up points for second place in the constructors’ championship and for that we need to finish ahead of Mercedes, who are only one point behind us.”

For Alonso, eighth place on the grid is hardly a surprising result after a difficult weekend so far at Suzuka.

“Today’s result is more or less what we were expecting, not having had a great pace all weekend, always being between sixth and tenth and even in Q3, I could not do more,” the Spaniard said after qualifying.

Alonso has one victory at Suzuka to his name, with his win in 2006 essentially clinching him his second world championship as Michael Schumacher retired due to an engine failure. From P8 though, it is hard to see the Ferrari driver taking a second victory at the track this weekend, but a top-five finish will certainly be the aim as the team looks to create a gap to Mercedes in the constructors’.

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