Mark Webber has said that he is not sure that Red Bull’s decision to put him on a three-stop strategy was the right call as the pole-sitter failed to put up a challenge to race winner Sebastian Vettel on Sunday in Japan.
Webber lost the lead at the first corner to Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, staying in second place until his early pit stop in an attempt to exercise the undercut. Although this did work, the early stop put Webber onto a three stop strategy that meant he could not catch two-stopping Vettel in the final few laps.
“We were on the back foot a bit after Romain’s great start,” Webber said. “I wanted to put pressure on him for the win. Sebastian was on a different strategy to me and in the end it worked out pretty similar. It’s hard to know which was right [two or three stops] as we were trying to cover off Romain. I did my best and in the end it was a good result.”
The Australian driver came out of the pits in third place after his final stop, but he managed to pass Grosjean thanks to his fresher set of option tires during the final stint. However, the time spent behind the Lotus driver allowed Vettel to pull away at the front and go on to win the race by seven seconds.
Having missed out on victory in Japan, Webber will be keen on picking up one last win in his final four races ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.
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