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Stephane Peterhansel extends Dakar Rally lead with stage win as Sebastien Loeb abandons race

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Editor’s note: Check out Stage 5 highlights on NBCSN at 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

The fifth stage of the Dakar Rally ended Wednesday with a notable absence.

Stephane Peterhansel won the stage to increase his overall lead to 31:16 over Carlos Sainz (fourth in the fifth stage) while a major contender was eliminated.

Sebastien Loeb, Peterhansel’s Peugeot teammate, retired from the race after  co-driver Daniel Elena sustained a back injury.

Loeb had been in second place overall after winning the fourth stage Tuesday. The Frenchman is one of the most successful rally drivers in history, winning the World Rally Championship title in a record nine consecutive seasons (2004-12). This marked his second attempt at the Dakar Rally after finishing second in the cars division last year.

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

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup

Peterhansel, a 13-time Dakar champion in all categories, notched his first stage win of the 2018 event by winning the 266-kilometer leg between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa in Peru in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 19 seconds. The Frenchman finished 4:54 ahead of The Netherlands’ Bernhard ten Brinke (who is 1:15:16 behind the overall lead in a Toyota).

Andre Villas-Boas, a former soccer manager for Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham, abandoned his Dakar debut after suffering back pain from a sand dune crash in the fourth stage.

In other classifications, Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort of Honda won the fifth stage of the bikes division. France’s Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) held onto the overall lead after finishing fifth. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides trails by 1 minute.

Defending truck champion Eduard Nikolaev won the fifth stage and trails overall leader Federico Villagra by 58:05.

STAGE 5 RESULTS, CARS

  1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 2:51:19
  2. The Netherlands’ Bernhard ten Brinke, Toyota, 2:56:11
  3. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, Toyota, 3:04:06
  4. Spain’s Carlos Sainz, Peugeot, 3:09:29
  5. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 3:15:52

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel
  2. Spain’s Carlos Sainz
  3. Netherland’s Bernhard ten Brinke
  4. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah
  5. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers

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BIKE

STAGE 5 RESULTS

  1. Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, 3:19:42
  2. Austria’s Matthias Walkner, KTM, 3:30:08
  3. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 3:32:02
  4. France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 3:32:42
  5. France’s Adrien van Beveren, Yamaha, 3:34:17

AMERICAN RIDERS 

Ninth: Ricky Brabec (Honda), 3:38:58

23rd: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 3:52:32

31st: Shane Esposito (KTM), 4:03:51

32nd: Mark Samuels (Honda), 4:05:45

86th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 6:03:15

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. France’s Adrien van Beveren
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides
  3. Austria’s Matthias Walkner
  4. Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort
  5. France’s Xavier de Soutrait

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TRUCK

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 3:37:12
  2. Belarus’ Siarhei Viazovhich, Maz, 3:43:35
  3. The Netherlands’ Ton Van Genugten, Iveco, 3:50:09
  4. Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov, Kamaz, 3:50:35
  5. Argentina’s Federico Villagra, Iveco, 3:58:22

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra
  3. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik
  5. Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara

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QUADS

  1. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, Yamaha, 4:12:47
  2. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 4:14:10
  3. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez Yamaha, 4:19:22
  4. Chile’s Giovanni Enrico, Yamaha, 4:25:42
  5. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros, Yamaha, 4:26:55

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  2. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez
  3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti
  4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso
  5. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego

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SxS UTV

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 3:42:42
  2. Peru’s Juan Carlos Uribe Ramos, Can-Am, 3:58:19
  3. Spain’s Jose Luis Pena Campos, Polaris, 4:20:37
  4. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 4:56:45
  5. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga, Polaris, 5:09:00

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela
  2. Peru’s Juan Carlos Uribe Ramos
  3. France’s Patricie Garrouste
  4. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga
  5. France’s Claudio Fournier

**************************

STAGE 6: The Rally will leave Peru for Bolivia, bound Thursday to the country’s capital La Paz.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

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By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/