Sebastien Loeb surges to lead Monday at Dakar Rally

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Sebastien Loeb’s rally history and success is unrivaled in the modern era. Naturally then, he’s entered this year’s Dakar Rally in the quest to add another mark to his career tally.

Loeb has moved into the lead following the conclusion of Stage 2 in the 2016 Dakar Rally – the first actual stage following the canceled first stage and Saturday’s prologue.

He leads Dakar ahead of Team Peugeot Total teammate and Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel by 2.23 seconds.

Loeb wrote on Twitter afterwards he was surprised with the early pace.

“A little surprised the fastest time of the day, but it is positive. The #Peugeot2008DKR is in the same time on these winding tracks,” he wrote, translated roughly via Google Translate.

“We got a little hot in a quagmire where some remained blocked. We were already happy to be at the finish. Aside from that no problems.

“It will open the road tomorrow. This will be another story, a first for Daniel Elena and me, but we must learn 🙂 #Dakar2016.”

The tweets, in Loeb’s natural French, are linked below.

Loeb isn’t the only FIA World Rally Championship ace competing at the Dakar; so too is Loeb’s past WRC rival Mikko Hirvonen. The Finn is getting acclimated to the rally.

Live text updates from the rally, via the official Dakar site, are linked here.

Monday’s second stage coverage will be highlighted on Tuesday on NBCSN, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.