Gastaldi delighted with progress at Lotus in 2014

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has expressed his happiness with the progress that the team has made since the beginning of the season ahead of the first European race in Spain next weekend.

After financial problems blighted progress during the off-season, the team has since bounced back and is now on the verge of scoring its first points of 2014. In China, Romain Grosjean was on course to score his first points of the season, only for a gearbox failure to force him to retire.

“Yes, we were running in the top ten and there were many green shoots of recovery made evident over the course of the last race weekend, we didn’t get the points we wanted,” Gastaldi recalled. “Romain’s gearbox issue was something very rare for an Enstone team and we’ve quickly identified the issue and taken preventative measures and we are working hard to ensure Pastor has the car he wants underneath him.”

Like all of the other teams, Lotus has a raft of upgrades planned for the race next weekend, but Gastaldi is hoping that all at Enstone can continue their rapid rate of progress since missing the first test in Jerez.

“It’s true, you always face a moving target in Formula 1,” he said. “Just finding improvements in your car over the course of the season is not good enough; you need to find more improvements than your rivals do. We certainly have made tremendous gains in absolute and relative terms since we started the year. Definitely, we had the most gains to make, but we still look to be very much on an upward trajectory.

“We won’t be satisfied until we are on the top step of the podium! We are all racers and that is what we all want. Even then, not everyone will be satisfied, as you can only ever have one person on that top step!”

Although a victory for Lotus is unlikely in the near future (or, for that matter, this season), some points in the next few races are certainly possible, and it would be no less than Grosjean deserves after some spirited drives so far this season.

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