Dakar: Ales Loprais strikes a blow for MAN; Nikolaev falls out of overall truck lead

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With the motorcycle and quad racers taking a rest day, Saturday marked the beginning of a two-day “marathon” stage for the car and truck categories.

But while the car racers went uphill into Bolivia, the truckers embarked on a separate, dune-filled 335-kilometer stage in Chile.

Leading up to Saturday, KAMAZ had scored wins in the last five consecutive stages after Iveco’s Hans Stacey won the opener.

But KAMAZ couldn’t run the streak to six thanks to the efforts of MAN’s Ales Loprais (pictured). The Czech pilot took a five-minute, 39-second victory in Stage 7 over Iveco’s Gerard de Rooy.

However, perhaps an even bigger story on Saturday is the end of KAMAZ driver Eduard Nikolaev’s reign atop the overall truck standings.

Nikolaev had won back-to-back-to-back stages, but on Saturday, he lost more than an hour along the way.

With the stumble, Nikolaev is now fourth on the big board at almost 45 minutes behind new leader Ayrat Mardeev (fifth on Saturday).

Mardeev’s overall lead currently sits at more than 22 minutes over defending Dakar truck champ Andrey Karginov, while Dmitry Sotnikov has leaped slightly ahead of Nikolaev for the third spot.

KAMAZ still has a lock on the front four positions overall, while Loprais leads the MAN camp in fifth at 1 hour, 11 minutes back.

NBCSN’s coverage of the Dakar Rally continues with Stage 7 highlights on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. ET.

Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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