Oriol Servia: Everyone itching to “send a message” at IndyCar Open Test

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Oriol Servia may only be a part-time driver for the time being with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, but the Spaniard is like every other Verizon IndyCar Series competitor at this point – beyond ready to get in the car and go racing.

The season officially starts March 30 in St. Petersburg, Florida but begins in earnest tomorrow with a two-day Open Test session at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama.

And the man that some call the “Ghost Driver” believes that everyone in the paddock is set to show that they’ll be the one to beat in 2014.

“You could think that some would hide a bit of their true poten­tial and only show it in St. Pete, but I can assure you that is not the way it works,” the open-wheel veteran said in an RLL release.

“For some reason we all feel – drivers and teams - that it is the oppor­tu­nity to send a message to the rest of the paddock and everybody’s message wants to be the same: ‘Hey, this year you better count me as the refer­ence!’ Only one driver will be able to send that message at the end of the test.”

Servia is set to run at least four races of the 2014 championship with RLL – Long Beach, Barber, the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis 500 – alongside the team’s full-time driver, Graham Rahal.

However, the Barber open test will be his first time in an IndyCar since competing for Panther Racing in last year’s season finale at Auto Club Speedway.

The good news is that Servia can lean on Rahal a bit if necessary, as the new face of the National Guard recently logged more than 100 laps at Sebring on an older version of Honda’s new twin-turbo engine. For the Barber test, they’ll each have the latest version of the Honda twin turbo to work with.

Still, Servia acknowledges that things won’t be easy for him at Barber, one of the toughest tracks in all of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“If you are nothing else than your greatest, the track won’t give you a ‘free pass’ and it will show,” he said about the beautiful but challenging circuit. “It is very demanding and that is a big part of its charm. What is great about it too is that with some of the fast and blind corners, the fans can appre­ciate the level of commit­ment it takes from the drivers.

“All and all, it will defi­nitely be a great test to get the winter rust off.”

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