Maldonado still smiling despite disastrous day for Lotus

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“It never rains, but it pours” is a saying that is perfectly applicable to Lotus F1 Team in 2014. Following a difficult 2013 season that was blighted by a number of financial problems and public disputes, the team is now in the process of restructuring and rebuilding in order to try and return to the front of the field.

However, after a terrible weekend in Australia that saw Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean qualify last and both retire from the race, the team’s fortunes have failed to improve on Friday in Malaysia.

Romain Grosjean completed just 18 laps on Friday, but his first run was brought to an early end when his car stopped out on track. Having also been hit with a problem on his car, Maldonado eventually came out towards the end of FP1, only for the E22 to start spewing smoke from its engine before eventually coming to a halt on pit entry.

Despite not posting a time, Maldonado remains optimistic about what the team can do, but did not make any secret of his struggles.

“Well we have had so many problems today,” he admitted. “We’ve been stuck in the garage and have not even been able to complete a lap. But that’s just the way it is!

“Since the pre-season we’ve had quite a few problems around the power unit, and again today – it’s not what we want but we just need to accept it and work a lot harder than the others.

“I think the team is doing quite well and is working very hard, but the power unit is very complicated. However we need to be strong together and keep pushing.”

Grosjean did manage to post a lap time in FP2, albeit 2.6 seconds behind pace-setter Nico Rosberg and ahead only of the Marussia and Caterham drivers.

It’s a far cry from the team that won a race in 2013 and scored podiums on a regular basis, and it will be interesting to see just whether or not the British outfit can return to such heights in 2014 in the face of such adversity.

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