Dakar: In face of tragedy, Duclos wins in Stage 6 (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Forging ahead after the heart-breaking deaths of competitor Eric Palante and two others on Thursday, the 2014 Dakar Rally hit its sixth stage with a run from Tucuman to Salta, Argentina.

Motorcyclist Alain Duclos (pictured) ended an eight-year stage win drought in the Dakar, out-hustling overall category leader Marc Coma by a margin of 1:15. Duclos now sits third big-picture wise, one hour back of Coma, who holds a 42:17 lead over second-place Joan Barreda (fourth on Friday).

“Today, it was my type of terrain,” Duclos said after his run. “We’ve got over the worst over the last few days and the rest day has arrived at the right time – it couldn’t be better timed.”

Car racer Stephane Peterhansel bolstered his bid for a 12th Dakar championship with the 63rd stage win of his career in the famous rally. He is now tied with seven-time Dakar truck champ Vladimir Chagin for the most Dakar stage wins across all categories.

Following today’s events, Peterhansel is now third in the overall car standings and is less than three minutes behind second-place Orlando Terranova, who himself is off the pace of leader Nani Roma by half an hour.

“Today, it was a really nice stage,” said Peterhansel. “The first part was like a [World Rally Championship] track, but in very nice landscape. It was close to the National Park and was really beautiful. On the second, there was a little bit more vegetation, but also like a [WRC track], so today, navigation was really easy.”

The battle for quad supremacy between Rafal Sonik, Sergio Lafuente, and Ignacio Casale continues, as they finished first, second and fourth respectively in Stage 6. Sonik was a big winner in particular, as he peeled off a whopping 54 minutes from Lafuente.

However, the Uruguayan remains on top of the overall by 22:18 over Sonik and 24:04 over third-place Casale.

While the cars, bikes and quads all had special stages of at least 400 kilometers, the trucks took on a shorter, 156-kilometer version Friday. Peter Versluis of the Netherlands earned top honors in the stage, while fellow Dutchman Gerard de Rooy still leads the overall by 29:05.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

IndyCar
Leave a comment

In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski