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Will Power on pole again in St. Pete

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Will Power’s dominance on the streets of St. Petersburg continued Saturday as he secured pole for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg despite brushing the wall during Round 2. However, the car suffered no damage, and his fastest lap was just over the 1:00 mark, and came in at 1:01.064. It is Power’s seventh pole in eight years at St. Petersburg. He noted afterward that a decision to make one run in the first round helped set him up for later rounds. “It takes obviously a very good team and kind of getting through that first round there,taking the risk on just doing one lap was good for me, I definitely had a bit more meat on the tires in the last round there.”

Power also explained that and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske group nearly went the wrong with chassis adjustments and had to backtrack before their pole run. “(We) made a bit of a wrong setup change there for the last round and kind of just made it and went back and did something else. So yeah, very happy to be on pole. It’s really tight competition.”

Power was one of only two Chevrolets to make the Firestone Fast Six, the other being his Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, who qualified fourth.

The other four slots went to Honda teams, who continued to show the strong pace they demonstrated in all three practice sessions. Scott Dixon led the Honda contingent in second, with James Hinchcliffe in third. Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan qualified fifth and sixth. This marked the first time in the manufacturer aero kit era Honda has done so; Honda’s best effort in the Firestone Fast Six last year was at the IndyCar Grand Prix when Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Jack Hawksworth all made it.

Dixon later explained that a crucial error on his part might have cost him the pole. “I think the team and Honda did the job. I just did not. I made a pretty big mistake on my first lap, which definitely disappointed, and we had a pretty smooth weekend. The car was super fast and came up short, but it’s qualifying. Hopefully tomorrow I can redeem myself and we can snap up an extra spot, but good round for the weekend, especially for the whole team.”

Honda’s strength was not the only surprise in qualifying. A number of high-profile drivers who had been running quickly failed to make it out of Round 1 of qualifying. Chief among them, Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud, sporting the No. 1 as the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion, and Helio Castroneves failed to advance to round two. They will start 14th and 16th. “Well, we’re certainly disappointed, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to pack up and go home,” Pagenaud asserted after qualifying. “The PPG Chevrolet team and I will go to work and figure out how we can improve. They are the best in the business. We have our work cut out for us, but once the race starts, all sorts of things can happen.”

Also failing to advance was Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti, who was fastest in opening practice on Friday and noted that he and team overcompensated for an oversteer issue when they ran on the primary black tires. Andretti will start 15th.

Two drivers made contact with the wall during qualifying, ending their sessions prematurely. Sebastien Bourdais speared off course entering turn 13 on his out lap during Round 1, an incident that caused a red flag and parked Bourdais for the session. He will start 21st. Meanwhile, Ryan Hunter-Reay flirted with the wall several times before eventually brushing it in Round 2. It did not stop the session, but Hunter-Reay ‘s car was damaged enough that he did not continue. He will start 12th on Sunday.

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Dakar Rally Stage 13: Carlos Sainz has second overall victory in sight

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Editor’s note: Check out expanded video highlights of Stage 13 Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carlos Sainz is nearing his second Dakar Rally victory while Nasser Al-Attiyah strengthened his bid for second by winning Friday’s 13th stage of the endurance race.

Sainz finished sixth in his Team Peugeot ride and holds a lead of 46:18 over Al-Attiyah’s Toyota.

“I tried to play it safe, even if there were plenty of tricky parts,” said Sainz, who won the Dakar Rally in 2010 but had failed to finish the past five races because of mechanical problems. “Since the start, there has been a lot of drama in this race and it’s not over until we’ve crossed the finishing line. It’s not a crazy Dakar, but it’s very difficult. I hope everything will go OK (Saturday).”

Defending race winner Stephane Peterhansel is in fourth overall, trailing by 1:28:08 after crashing and finishing 20th in the penultimate stage. The Frenchman has a record 13 overall wins in the Dakar but is unlikely to earn another despite rebounding well from a crash in the seventh stage that had knocked him from the overall lead.

In other divisions, Eduard Nikolaev (trucks), Matthias Walkner (motorcycles), Ignacio Casale (Quads) and Reinaldo Varela (SxS UTV) are on the cusp of capturing overall wins entering the final stage.

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STAGE 13 RESULTS, CARS

  1. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 5:02:22
  2. Argentina’s Lucio ALvarez, Toyota, 5:13:38
  3. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, Toyota: 5:15:28
  4. Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, X-Raid, 5:17:29
  5. Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, X-Raid, 5:21:46

OVERALL 

  1. Spain’s Carlos Sainz
  2. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, 46:18 behind
  3. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, 1:20:00 behind
  4. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, 1:28:08 behind
  5. Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, 2:46:32 behind

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TRUCKS

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 5:59:02
  2. Russia’s Airat Mardeev, 5:59:52
  3. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, Tatra, 6:05:08
  4. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich, 6:26:47
  5. Czech Republic’s Dmitry Sotnikov, 6:31:56

OVERALL 

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich, 3:53:59 behind
  3. Russia’s Airat Mardeev, 5:21:05
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, 9:01:18
  5. Czech Republic’s Dmitry Sotnikov, 10:04:29

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MOTORCYCLES

  1. Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 4:48:33
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 4:50:36
  3. France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 4:51:17
  4. Austria’s Matthias Walkner, KTM, 5:00:05
  5. Spain’s Juan Pedrero Garcia, 5:03:45

AMERICAN RIDERS

15th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 5:19:40

18th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 5:27:14

37th: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 5:58:14

68th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 7:16:00

OVERALL 

  1. Austria’s Matthias Walkner
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, 22:31 behind
  3. Australia’s Toby Price, 27:45
  4. France’s Antoine Meo, 50:17
  5. Spain’s Gerard Farres, 1:01:19

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QUADS

  1. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 5:55:16
  2. Paraguay’s Nelson Augusto Sanabria Galeano, 5:58:34
  3. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, 5:59:19
  4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, 6:02:22
  5. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, 6:02:23

OVERALL

  1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  2. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, 1:37:16 behind
  3. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 2:05:12
  4. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, 4:25:26
  5. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez, 4:34:37

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SxS UTV

  1. France’s Patricie Garrouste, Polaris, 6:29:40
  2. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 6:39:39
  3. France’s Claude Fournier, Polaris, 7:33:17
  4. Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, Polaris, 7:41:200

OVERALL 

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela
  2. France’s Patricie Garroueste, 53:28 behind
  3. France’s Claude Fournier, 10:02:12
  4. Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, 10:06:01

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SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

Champions in all five classes will be crowned Saturday after the 14th and final stage concludes in Cordoba, Argentina.

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

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