Getty Images

Al-Attiyah, Sunderland stake early leads in Stage 1 of Dakar Rally

Leave a comment

Editor’s note: Don’t miss NBCSN’s first report from Dakar on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The 40th annual Dakar Rally – and its 10th consecutive year in South America – opened Saturday with lots of action in Stage 1.

Most importantly, rain – which was a constant hindrance in last year’s Rally, including washing out one full stage and drastically shortening another – was nowhere in sight.

The 31-kilometer (19.26 miles) inaugural sprint kicked off the 14-stage, two-week event in the morning starting in Lima, Peru and ending in nearby Pisco, Peru.

For the second straight year, Robby Gordon – a perennial Rally fan favorite – is not entered.

In fact, there are only six U.S. competitors in the 523 “adventurer’s” field: One entrant in Cars (Bryce Menzies) and five in Motorcycles (Ricky Brabec, Andrew Short, Mark Samuels, Bill Conger, and Shane Esposito).

MORE: Dakar Rally kicks off today, marks 40th year overall and 10th year in South America.

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

Here’s results and highlights from Saturday’s Stage 1:


In the marquee Cars class, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah – a two-time Rally winner – took his Toyota to the No. 1 spot in a time of 21 minutes, 51 seconds.

Second through fifth were:

  • Holland’s Bernhard ten Brinke, Toyota, 22:16
  • Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs, Borgward, 22:25
  • U.S.’s Bryce Menzies (co-driver Peter Mortensen), Mini, 22:29
  • Spain’s Nani Roma, Mini, 22:44


Defending champion Sam Sunderland of Britain (although he now lives in Dubai) had an outstanding first Stage, clocking in at 20:55 to grab the early lead in the class.

Second through fifth were:

  • France’s Adrien van Beveren, Yamaha, 21:28
  • Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, 21:51
  • Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, 21:52
  • France’s Xavier De Soultrait, Yamaha, 22:02

Also, here’s the position and times of the five U.S. riders in the class:

  • 11th: Ricky Brabec, Honda, 23:42
  • 27th: Andrew Short, Husqvarna, 25:46
  • 35th: Mark Samuels, Honda, 27:01
  • 93rd: Bill Conger, Husqvarna, 43:32
  • 125th: Shane Esposito, KTM, 2.39:54


  • 1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 27:32
  • 2. Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, Yamaha, 28:32
  • 3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti, Yamaha, 30:31
  • 4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, Yamaha, 30:40
  • 5. Poland’s Rafal Sonik, Yamaha, 31:33


  • 1. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga, Polaris, 31:27
  • 2. Spain’s Jose Pena Campo, Polaris, 34:28
  • 3. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 34:50
  • 4. Portugal’s Pedro De Mello Breyner, Yamaha, 35:10
  • 5. Italy’s Camelia Liparoti, Yamaha, 35:13]


  • 1. Czech Republic’s Ales Loprais, Tatra, 25:15
  • 2. Netherland’s Martin Van den Brink, Renault, 25:37
  • 3. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 25:44
  • 4. Netherland’s Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 26:26
  • 5. Russia’s Anton Shibalov, Kamaz, 26:33


  • The first crash of the day involved Lebanese drivers Jad Comair and Antoine Iskandar’s BMW, which rolled over in the sand dunes area of the course. Both drivers were uninjured.
  • The first contestant eliminated was Portuguese motorcycle rider Joaquim Rodrigues, who was participating in his first Dakar Rally. Rodrigues managed to get just a few hundred meters from the starting line before he was involved in a spectacular crash that sent him to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
  • Saturday’s opening stage was easy in comparison to what’s coming up. Sunday’s Stage 2 will be a circuitous 279 kilometer (173.3 miles) route that begins and ends in Pisco, Peru.

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.