Rob Smedley officially confirmed at Williams among other crew hires

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Rob Smedley has officially been confirmed at Williams on Tuesday, although not as Felipe Massa’s race engineer but instead as Head of Vehicle Performance, a new position.

Thus ends the chance we could have of hearing Smedley tell Massa, “Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood this message?”

“Smeds,” like Massa, had an extensive history at Ferrari going back to 2003. Massa raced with Ferrari from 2006, and Smedley joined up as his race engineer at that point.

The Englishman is one of several official new crew hires confirmed by the Grove-based team. Andrew Murdoch has joined up as Massa’s race engineer while Richard Lockwood comes on board from Marussia, as Head of Race Strategy.

Jonathan Eddolls and Randeep Singh will continue in their same roles; Eddolls is Bottas’ engineer and Singh will be team strategist.

Of the hires, chief technical officer Pat Symonds said, “Williams is undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are. 2014 gives us the biggest change to the technical regulations that I have seen in my career, and so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head into the new season.”

Williams has made a number of official announcements of late, with Genworth and Petrobras both joining up on the commercial side, and the confirmations of Felipe Nasr and Susie Wolff as reserve and test drivers.

Still to come is Williams’reveal of its official livery, which is expected to feature the iconic Martini brand adorning the team’s FW36-Mercedes. Martini has been linked to the team in media reports this winter, but is yet to be officially confirmed by the team.

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