Countdown to 40th Dakar Rally: South America debut (VIDEO)

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As we count down to the 40th Dakar Rally, coming in January 2018 to NBCSN, here’s a quick video of the rally reborn after a one-year absence.

The Dakar Rally’s 30-year anniversary in 2009 saw the event reborn after a one-year cancellation in 2008. Due to security threats in Mauritania, the 2008 Dakar rally wasn’t held.

But in 2009, the rally resumed, albeit with a twist: For the first time, the rally was not held in Africa and Europe, but instead moved to South America, with a route starting and ending in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a run through Valparaiso, Chile for its rest day.

Giniel de Villiers won overall in cars in a Volkswagen, with Marc Coma taking the bikes win on a KTM. Coma has since won in bikes in 2011, 2014 and 2015, after also winning in 2006. De Villiers, the South African, took his only overall Dakar win this year.

The rally route regularly hits Argentina and finished there last year. It will also be part of this year’s route, which also encompasses Peru and Bolivia.

This will be the 10th Dakar Rally consecutive and in total held in South America.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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