Red Bull GRC: Championship contenders Wiman, Block, Speed advance to Vegas final

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Three of the four Red Bull Global Rallycross title contenders did what they had to do in the semifinals of tonight’s season finale at The LINQ in Las Vegas.

Scott Speed (third, -27 points) finished second in the first semifinal behind Bucky Lasek to advance to the final, while Ken Block (second, -10 points) and points leader Joni Wiman did the same by finishing first and second respectively in the other semi.

But Nelson Piquet Jr. (fourth, -30 points) was forced to bow out of his semi after just one lap due to a reported gearbox problem on his Ford Fiesta ST. As a result, he will have to advance to the final out of the Last Chance Qualifier.

SEMIFINAL ONE

A pair of heat wins allowed Speed to move up to third in the standings prior to Semifinal One. Driving his new VW Beetle, Speed assumed the early lead but on the fourth of six laps, Lasek took the lead from the former NASCAR/F1 pilot coming out of the dirt jump. He then held off Speed the rest of the way.

Lasek pulled off the win despite being involved in a first-lap incident that had him make contact with Rhys Millen. Tanner Foust also sustained damage in the sequence of events and subsequently retired early. Steve Arpin – who was brought to a full stop by the melee but got going again – rallied to capture third place and the last transfer to the final.

SEMIFINAL TWO

Then came the second semi, which featured the other three drivers involved in the championship fight – Block, Wiman, and Piquet. But while Block and Wiman quickly shot to the front, Piquet was unable to launch off the start with the rest of the field.

After a few moments, Piquet finally got going but ultimately came to a stop off-course. Meanwhile, Block and Wiman pulled away and finished 1-2, with Patrik Sandell finishing third to join them in the final.

That sets up tonight’s LCQ at 9:20 p.m. ET. The Top 4 finishers there will go to the final at 10:35 p.m. ET.

REMINDER: Tonight’s GRC season finale will be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET on your local NBC station. The broadcast will also be streamed online and on mobile devices through NBC Sports Live Extra.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toby Price win Dakar Rally

Dakar.com, Frederic le Floc'h / DPPI
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Driving a safe final stage that placed him 12th across the line, Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed his third Dakar Rally victory on Thursday. Toby Price claimed his second Dakar win in motorcycles after winning the final stage.

Al-Attiyah could afford to play it safe since he entered the stage with a 51-minute advantage over the field. Price barely had a minute to spare and was forced to push hard through the short 112-kilometer course.

Price’s victory was all the more dramatic in light of his riding the entire rally with a pin in his wrist from a broken scaphoid bone.

In the Quads class, Nicolas Cavigliasso showed his dominance by winning nine of the 10 stages.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Last year’s overall class winner, Carlos Sainz finally earned a stage win, but it was too little, too late. … Sebastien Loeb challenged for the class win throughout the stage and finished less than one minute back. … Cyril Despres rounded out the top three. … Nani Roma finished sixth, four minutes behind the leader, but less than five minutes ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah won his third Dakar by a margin of 46:42 over Roma and one hour, 54:18 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Toby Price saved the best for last. He won his first stage of the rally and secured the class win. … His victory came with a margin of 2:21 over Jose Florima. … Matthias Walkner enter entered the stage with an opportunity to take the overall lead. His third-place finish was not bad, but it came with his principal rival finishing first. … Pablo Quintanilla took a fall early in the stage and injured his foot. Riding hurt, he finished the stage 22nd – nearly 20 minutes off the pace. … American Andrew Short finished seventh for his eighth top 10 of the rally.

Class Leaders: Price ended the rally with the biggest advantage of the year. He beat Walkner by 9:13. Sam Sunderland finished third, 13:34 behind the leader.

In side by sides, Reinaldo Varela won his second consecutive stage and third overall. … He had a comfortable margin of 3:39 over Cristian Baumgart and 6:10 over Francisco Lopez Contardo.

Class Leaders: Contardo’s third-place finish in the stage was more than enough to secure the class victory over Gerard Farres Guell, who finished one hour, 2:35. Varela finished one hour, 5:19 behind in third.

In quads, In a show of utter dominance, Nicolas Cavigliasso won his ninth stage of the year. … Alexandre Giroud stood on the podium for the fourth time this year. While he didn’t win a stage, he never finished worse than sixth. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso won by an advantage of one hour, 55:37 over Ferioli and two hours, 11:38 over Gustavo Gallego

In trucks, Ton Van Genugton rebounded from a poor Stage 9 in which he finished 12th to win his second stage of the rally. … Ales Loprais scored his first podium of the rally; his previous best finish was fourth in Stage 9. … Dmitry Sotnikov stood on the final rung of the podium.

Class Leaders: Eduard Nikolaev finished sixth in the stage, but won with an advantage of 25:36 over Sotnikov and one hour, 34:44 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4), Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6), Michael Metge [1] (Stage 9) and Toby Price [1] (Stage 10)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [9] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [3] (Stage 1, 4 and 9), Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7) and [1] Carlos Sainz

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [3] (Stage 1, 9 and 10), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2, and 9), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Ton Van Genugton [2] (Stage 5 and 10), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8), and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

For more watch the daily highlight show on NBCSN. Click here for the complete schedule.

Or check out the streaming show at 8:30-9 p.m. by clicking this link.