Quinn Cody, No.1, and Ivan Ramirez, No. 2, coming through the Kino Cross waypoint. (Photo: Melissa Eickhoff)

Sonora Rally kicks off in Mexico (PHOTOS)

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We touched on one interesting rally yesterday on MotorSportsTalk and another cool one is going on this week in Mexico – the Sonora Rally.

The Sonora Rally is a rally raid and even has a Dakar Challenge for motos, which was announced in February as the event was selected by ASO as a Dakar Challenge event. A qualified moto winner can earn a free entry into Dakar 2017.

The four-day off road rally runs in Sonora, Mexico from April 3 through the 7, and includes the San Luis Rio Colorado and Puerto Peñasco.

On day one, Mark Samuels led Ivan Ramirez by 11 seconds (3:20:43 to 3:20:54) with Steve Hengeveld and Quinn Cody also within three minutes. Todd Jergensen led the car-national 2WD class.

On day two, Cody took the stage way over Hengeveld (3:27:31 to 3:27.37) with Ramirez and Samuels third and fourth.

Through two days, Hengeveld has a 22 second lead over Cody (6:50:11 to 6:50.33) with Ramirez and Samuels third and fourth. All bar Cody of those four are Dakar Challenge participants.

Here’s some early race images from the first couple days, which are fairly cool:

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Beyond the challenge of riding the terrain, is the navigation and all the gadgets that make it happen. In this case, for the the motorcycles, it is a juggling act of eyes up and staying on course… (Photo: Boyd Jaynes, @theboydphoto)

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Dakar Challenge rider Petr Vlcek (@wolfeyracing) stands out against the dry lake bed. (photo: Melissa Eickhoff @meickhoff)

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Peaks like this proved to be the best and worst part of many of the riders’ day. (photo: Jason Adams)

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“It was like driving on marshmallows out there!” – Dave Skyes, driver, No. 50 (Photo: John Rettie)

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Jon Steinhilber, No. 57, checking in at the finish of the stage. (Photo: John Rettie)

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski