Dakar: One day after team orders, Peterhansel takes control in Stage 12 (VIDEO)

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Problems for Nani Roma opened the door for Stephane Peterhansel to take the overall car lead in Stage 12 of the Dakar Rally one day after his Mini team had told him to end his fight against the Spaniard.

In an attempt to pull off a podium sweep in the category, Mini told its drivers yesterday to hold position with Roma in first, Peterhansel in second and Nasser Al-Attiyah in third. But today, Roma suffered a tire puncture early on and later on got briefly stuck in a dune on the route to La Serena, Chile.

Now, after a bizarre afternoon, Peterhansel holds a 26-second overall lead over Roma with the final stage coming tomorrow.

“Nasser started behind me and after one hundred kilometers, he was close to me, so I stopped and he passed and just afterwards, we overtook Nani – I think he had a puncture because he was really slow,” Peterhansel said.

“At the end, I stopped on the dunes to show him that if he wanted to he could go past, but he didn’t want to open the way on the dunes. So I opened on the dunes and finished very calmly.”

However, Peterhansel believes that Mini’s team orders remain in play even with the shuffling of positions, telling Agence France-Presse that “the instructions will perhaps be reissued tonight and we will listen to them.”

Al-Attiyah finished second behind Peterhansel today by three minutes, 38 seconds to keep grip on the final podium spot as the end of the rally draws near.

In the bikes, 2013 class champ Cyril Despres remained white-hot in this second week of racing, claiming the stage win by two minutes, 17 seconds over current overall leader Marc Coma.

Barring a massive breakdown, Coma has a clean shot to the championship tomorrow after his closest rival, Joan Barreda, tumbled from the runner-up position following a dreadful day.

Barreda’s Honda team reports that he crashed at the 264-kilometer mark and the Dakar website said that following electrical problems emerging on his bike, he was forced to stop several times after that point and finished the special on foot – almost two-and-a-half hours behind Despres.

With that, Barreda has lost out on a podium finish, tumbling to seventh in the overall. Meanwhile, Jorge Viladoms now leads a tight battle for P2 behind Coma; he is almost two hours off Coma’s pace, but is up just 10 minutes, 27 seconds on third-place Olivier Pain, while Despres, in fourth, only sits an additional 3 minutes, 45 seconds off of Pain.

It also appears smooth sailing for Chile’s own Ignacio Casale, who looks ready to claim the big trophy in the quads. Casale earned the win today by five minutes, five seconds over Sebastian Husseini, and now leads overall over Rafal Sonik by a margin of 1 hour, 23 minutes, 42 seconds.

In the trucks, a close finish awaits for Andrey Karginov and Gerard de Rooy, who erased 31 seconds from his deficit during his win today over the Russian. Still, Karginov holds the top spot overall over de Rooy by 7 minutes, 25 seconds.

Only tomorrow’s 157-kilometer route from La Serena to Valparaiso remains left to conquer.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.