IndyCar: Brasilia, Brazil race confirmed for March 8, 2015

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INDYCAR announced today it is returning to Brazil next season and will sanction a Verizon IndyCar Series event at Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in the capital city of Brasília during the 2015 season. Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles and Maruska Souza Holanda, President of Terracap, a government-owned company that owns the racetrack, made the joint announcement from Brasília today. The Brasília Indy will be held on March 8, 2015.

“We’re eager to continue INDYCAR’s rich history of racing in Brazil with today’s announcement of a Verizon IndyCar Series event in Brasília next season,” Miles said. “This event is an instrumental step in the growth of INDYCAR as we continue to execute our strategy of adding race markets and events that drive us forward. We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from Governor Agnelo Queiroz, the Government of the Federal District – GDF and the Bandeirantes Communications Group throughout this entire process. INDYCAR fans throughout the world are unbelievably enthusiastic about our sport and we’re excited to showcase another thrilling event next season.”

INDYCAR previously sanctioned a Verizon IndyCar Series street race in São Paulo (2010-13) and CART raced in Rio de Janeiro (1996-2000) on an oval circuit that was also named in honor of Piquet.

“I look forward to having the race in Brasilia; it will be a marvelous event not only for developing Brasilia but for all of Brazil,” Brasília’s Governor Agnelo Queiroz said while visiting the Indianapolis 500 in May. “The racetrack is located close to downtown and we expect more than 100,000 fans at the event. The racetrack is a permanent facility and it was built in the center of the city in 1973, and we were determined in our improvements that the track should meet the safety and performance requirements for INDYCAR, F1 and MotoGP. We truly hope the event will bring investments and economic development for the whole Central region of Brazil.”

Brazilians Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, two of the most successful and popular drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series, applauded the 2015 schedule addition.

“It’s awesome news that we’re going back to Brazil next year,” said Kanaan, the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. “The fans there love INDYCAR and support the race and we also have Brazilian sponsors involved in our sport, so racing in my home country is a no-brainer. I raced at the Brasília track a very long time ago, in the beginning of the 90’s, but I remember it being very cool. I can’t wait for INDYCAR to get back there in 2015.”

Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who recently finished second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship behind his teammate Will Power, echoed Kanaan’s sentiments.

“We are living in great times for Brazil,” Castroneves said. “The World Cup was there a few months ago. The Olympics are coming to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In between we will see the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2015. Brazilians are very proud of their sports heritage, including motorsports. I know it will be a great event at a new venue for us in the capital of Brasilia, the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, named after one of our greatest drivers. I love racing in my native country and I hope to be the winner next year.”

Brasília joins NOLA Motorsports Park as the second new INDYCAR venue added to the calendar for next season. INDYCAR officials are currently finalizing the entire 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which will be announced later this offseason.

Dakar Rally champs: Walkner (Bikes), Sainz (Cars), Nikolaev (Trucks), Casale (Quads), Varela (UTV)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET and Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

For most of the 545 entrants into this year’s 40th Dakar Rally, just four words remain: Wait ‘til next year.

That’s right, the 14-stage, 15-day Rally, which began January 6 in Lima, Peru, carried through Bolivia and concluded Saturday in Cordoba, Argentina.

Overall class winners were:

  • BIKES: Austria’s Matthias Walkner
  • CARS: Spain’s Carlos Sainz
  • TRUCKS: Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  • QUADS: Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  • SxS UTV: Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela

Here’s how the Rally finished both in Stage 14 and, more importantly, the overall final standings:

BIKES

One year after finishing second, Austrian Matthias Walkner did one better by capturing his first-ever Rally championship in the motorcycle class.

Walkner, 31, finished eighth in Saturday’s Stage 14, but it was good enough to earn him the title by more than 16 minutes ahead of Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, who won Saturday’s final stage.

It was also a big day for KTM, the brand of bike Walkner rode throughout the Rally, as the company captured its 17th consecutive Rally title.

Here’s the top 5 Stage 14 finishers:

1 Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 1:26:41

2 Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 1:27:35

3 France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 1:29:30

4 Spain’s Daniel Oliveras Carreras, KTM, 1:30:06

5 France’s Johnny Aubert, Gas Gas, 1:31:00

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

1 Austria’s Matthias Walkner — CHAMPION

2 Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, 16:53 behind

3 Australia’s Toby Price, 23:01 behind

4 France’s Antoine Meo, 47:28 behind

5 Spain’s Gerard Farres, 1:01:04 behind

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CARS

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers captured Stage 14, but it wasn’t close enough to unseat overall Rally winner Carlos Sainz of Spain.

Sainz had built a big lead and just had to maintain with defense, needing to finish just ninth in the final stage to take home his second consecutive Rally crown.

France’s Stephane Peterhansel finished second and Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah finished third to wrap up the final stage, but while both were strong challengers throughout the Rally, they were unable to overtake Sainz when they needed to do so the most.

As for American riders, Ricky Brabec had consistently finished most stages in the top 10 to top 20, including two stage finishes early on as high as fourth place.

But a poor run Saturday relegated him to a disappointing overall finish of 39th in the Rally.

Here’s the top 5 Stage 14 finishers:

1 South Africa’s Giniel De Villiers, Toyota, 1:26:29

2 France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 1:27:09

3 Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 1:17:10

4 Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez, Toyota, 1:27:12

5 Netherlands’ Peter van Merkstelin, 1:28:35

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

1 Spain’s Carlos Sainz — CHAMPION

2 Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, 43:40 behind

3 South Africa’s Giniel De Villiers 1:16:41 behind

4 France’s Stephane Peterhansel, 1:25:29

5 Poland’s Jakub Przygonski 2:45:24

AMERICAN RIDERS – Stage 14 finishes

13 Shane Esposito, KTM, 1:38:13

14 Mark Samuels, Honda, 1:38:22

25 Andrew Short, Husqvarna, 1:41:21

39 Ricky Brabec, Honda, 1:47:15

57 Bill Conger, Husqvarna, 1:53:38

AMERICAN RIDERS – FINAL OVERALL FINISHES

17 Andrew Short

21 Mark Samuels

25 Shane Esposito

39 Ricky Brabec

66 Bill Conger

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TRUCKS

While the Netherlands’ Ton van Genugten was one of the stronger performers in the latter stages of the Rally, including winning Saturday’s final stage, he could finish no higher than eighth in the overall standings.

Frankly, no one could do much in the final stages to unseat eventual champ Eduard Nikolaev of Russia, who obliterated his nearest competitors in the last few stages.

Nikolaev won the overall Trucks class by nearly a four hour advantage over Belarus’s Siarhel Vlazovich and nearly a 5 ½ hour edge over Russian teammate Ayrat Mardeev.

Here’s the top 5 Stage 14 finishers:

1 Netherlands’ Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 1:39:47

2 Czech Republic’s Martin Macik, Liaz, 1:39:58

3 Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov, Kamaz, 1:43:22

4 Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 1:44:04

5 Netherlands’ Gert Huznik, Renault, 1:44:42

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

1 Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev — CHAMPION

2 Belarus’s Siarhel Viazovich, 3:57:17 behind

3 Russia’s Ayrat Mardeev, 5:22:34 behind

4 Kazakhstan’s Artur Ardavichus, 6:38:22 behind

5 Czech Republic’s Martin Macik, 7:58:45 behind

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QUADS

Here’s the top 5 Stage 14 finishers:

1 Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 1:43:25

2 Paraguay’s Nelson Sanabria Galeano, Yamaha, 1:44:46

3 Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, Yamaha, 1:45:01

4 France’s Alex Dutrie, Yamaha, 1:45:08

5 Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, Yamaha, 1:46:27

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

1 Chile’s Ignacio Casale – CHAMPION

2 Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, 1:38:52 behind

3 Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 2:08:14

4 Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, 4:30:00

5 Peru’s Alexis Hernandez, 4:38:53

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SxS UTV

Here’s the top 5 Stage 14 finishers:

1 Argentina’s Leonel Larrauri, Can-Am, 1:45:55

2 Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 1:53:59

3 France’s Patricie Garrouste, Polaris, 1:58:08

4 France’s Claude Fournier, Polaris, 2:01:12

5 Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, Polaris, 2:01:18

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

1 Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela – CHAMPION

2 France’s Patricie Garrouste, 57:37 behind

3 France’s Claude Fournier, 10:09:25

4 Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, 10:13:20

5 Argentina’s Leonel Larrauri, 27:54:15

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MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

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

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MORE: Stage 1 wrapup