Dakar Rally streaming daily on NBC Sports Live Extra

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All daily stage recaps of this year’s Dakar Rally will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra in addition to being broadcast on NBCSN.

Today’s coverage of Stage 1 was handled by NBC Formula One essayist Sam Posey, but all other recaps will feature commentary from NBC F1/IndyCar voice Leigh Diffey.

“Many racing events claim to be the ultimate test of man and machine, but they simply do not compare to the Dakar Rally,” Diffey said in an NBC Sports Group release. “Make no mistake – racing for 24 continuous hours is tough, but competing for two weeks is an all-together different deal.

“The grueling and at times life-threatening nature of this event is awe-inspiring. The spectacular scenery sometimes softens the immense bravery and sheer gritty determination of the competitors. Dakar is an event like no other.”

For desktops, Live Extra streaming can be accessed at NBCSports.com/LiveExtra. Additionally, the NBC Sports Live Extra app is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch, and at Google Play for select Android and tablet devices.

Here’s the remainder of NBCSN’s coverage of the 2014 Dakar:

Date Coverage Time (ET)
Tue., January 7 Stage 2 – San Luis to San Rafael 5 p.m.
Wed., January 8 Stage 3 – San Rafael to San Juan 5 p.m.
Thu., January 9 Stage 4 – San Juan to Chilecito 5 p.m.
Fri., January 10 Stage 5 – Chilecito to Tucuman 5 p.m.
Sat., January 11 Stage 6 – Tucuman to Salta 5:30 p.m.
Sun., January 12 Rest Day Coverage 10 p.m.
Mon., January 13 Stage 7 – Salta to Salta/Uyuni 6:30 p.m.
Tue., January 14 Stage 8 – Salta/Uyuni to Calama 5 p.m.
Wed., January 15 Stage 9 – Calama to Iquique 5 p.m.
Thu., January 16 Stage 10 – Iquique to Antofagasta 5 p.m.
Fri., January 17 Stage 11 – Antofagasta to El Salvador 5 p.m.
Mon., January 20 Stage 12 – El Salvador to La Serena 2 a.m.
Tue., January 20 Stage 13 – La Serena to Valparaiso 2:30 a.m.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”