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Dakar Rally Stage 6: Sainz (Cars), Meo (Bikes), Villagra (Trucks) lead the way

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From the desert to the mountains and on to a new playing field.

That pretty much summed up Stage 6 of the 14-stage Dakar Rally in South America.

The competition began in Arequipa, Peru before crossing the border into Bolivia, eventually ending up in the vibrant city of La Paz.

MORE: Stage 6 video highlights.

It is in La Paz where all those still in contention will enjoy a rare day off Friday to not only retool their bodies and minds, but also their vehicles, be they Cars, Trucks, Quads, Motorcycles or UTVs.

Remember, after Friday, there are still eight more stages in the Rally.

And if you think the first six stages have been tough, not to mention knocking out some of the Rally’s favored competitors, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The route rolls through much of the southern part of Bolivia for Stages 7 through 9 before moving on to the last country that will host the final five stages starting next Tuesday, Argentina.

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

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup

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So let’s break down what happened in Thursday’s Stage 6:

CARS

Spain’s Carlos Sainz, who won the Rally in 2010, made his biggest jump upward in this year’s edition of the Rally, winning Stage 6.

He overtook Peugeot teammate and heavy favorite Stephane Peterhansel of France, who finished second, during the round and closed Peterhansel’s lead in the overall standings.

Two-time Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, who has already won two stages in this year’s event, finished finished third.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Spain’s Carlos Sainz, Peugeot, 02:53:30
  2. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 2:57:36
  3. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 2:58:35
  4. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, Toyota, 2:59:01
  5. France’s Cyril Despres, Peugeot, 3:02:19

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel
  2. Spain’s Carlos Sainz – 27:10 behind
  3. Netherland’s Bernhard ten Brinke – 1:20:41
  4. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah – 1:24:20
  5. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers – 1:35:59

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MOTORCYCLES

Weather impacted the Rally for the first time on Thursday, particularly for the Bikes.

The first part of the route for Bikes was cancelled due to rain.

Despite the soggy conditions early on, France’s Antoine Meo had his second straight strong day, and this time rode his KTM to victory in the stage.

Meo held off a late charge by Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, who finished second, followed by third-place finisher, Australia’s Toby Price.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 1:54:10
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 1:54:40
  3. Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 1:54:40
  4. Argentina’s Diego Duplessis, Honda, 1:55:23
  5. Spain’s Daniel Oliveras Carreras, KTM, 1:56:05

AMERICAN RIDERS STAGE 6 RESULTS

19th: Ricky Brabec (Honda), 2:00:26

28th: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 2:04:39

30th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 2:07:06

36th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 2:08:45

84th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 2:46:47

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Argentina’s Kevin Benevides
  2. France’s Adrien van Beveren – 1:57 behind
  3. Austria’s Matthias Walkner – 3:50
  4. Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort – 09:33
  5. Australia’s Toby Price – 09:39

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TRUCKS

Argentina’s Federico Villagra roared to the front, and finished with a nearly three-minute lead over second-place finisher, Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, and third-place finisher, Ton van Genugten of the Netherlands.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Argentina’s Federico Villagra, Iveco, 3:22:23
  2. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, Tatra, 3:25:09
  3. Netherland’s Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 3:25:21
  4. Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov, Kamaz, 3:26:01
  5. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik, Liaz, 3:26:26

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra – 52:40 behind
  3. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich – 2:24:42
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik – 3:14:18
  5. Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov – 3:59:13

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QUADS

It took him two years, but Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finally got the stage win he had sought ever since leaving the 2016 Rally early due to a heavy wreck that was irreparable.

Argentina’s Pablo Copetti finished second, followed by Paraguay’s Nelson Sanabria Galeano.

Chile’s Ignacio Casale finished fourth but held on to his commanding lead in the overall standings.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, Yamaha, 2:29:16
  2. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti, Yamaha, 2:30:56
  3. Paraguay’s Nelson Sanabria Galeano, Yamaha, 2:31:24
  4. Chile’s Ignacia Casale, Yamaha, 2:32:17
  5. France’s Simon Vitse, Yamaha, 2:32:33

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  2. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez – 41:30 behind
  3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti – 57:16
  4. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli – 1:12:23
  5. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego – 1:16:45

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SxS UTV

 STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. France’s Patricie Garroueste, Polaris, 3:44:18
  2. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 3:46:47
  3. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos, Can-Am, 4:15:46
  4. Argentina’s Leonel Larrauri, Can-Am, 4:20:52
  5. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 4:35:19

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela
  2. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos – 32:07 behind
  3. France’s Patricie Garroueste – 1:24:13
  4. France’s Claudio Fournier – 3:22:21
  5. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga – 3:32:09

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DAY OFF: Friday marks the one and only rest day during the 15-day event. Competition resumes with Stage 7 on Saturday, beginning in La Paz, Bolivia and ends in Eyuni, Bolivia.

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/