Dakar 2017: Brabec second in bikes; Al-Attiyah leads overall on day 1

Ricky Brabec (pictured in 2016). Photo: Getty Images
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American rider Ricky Brabec has come third in the opening stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally in the bike category, and was later promoted to second following a penalty for the stage winner. Meanwhile overall and in cars, two-time overall winner Nasser Al-Attiyah holds the top spot.

Coverage of todayโ€™s opening stage will air on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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Brabec, the 25-year-old who rides the No. 9 CRF 450 Rally Honda for the Monster Energy Honda Team, is regarded as the top American with a chance to star in this yearโ€™s Dakar, especially following the lingering injuries that have sidelined Red Bullโ€™s Bryce Menzies, who was scheduled to compete in the car class.

French rider Xavier de Soultrait, who is in the No. 23 WR 450 F Yamaha for Viltais Racing Team HFP, took the opening stage win over Spaniard Juan Pedrero Garcia (No. 12 RTR 450 Sherco TVS, Sherco TVS Rally Factory) by two seconds. Brabec was third, 14 seconds back.

However, following the conclusion of the stage, Soultrait was docked nine positions for a speeding violation. That promotes Pedrero to the stage win and Brabec up to second.

Toby Price, who won the bike category at Dakar last year, sits one minute and 25 seconds in arrears.

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Overall, Al-Attiyah has taken the lead with a 24-second stage win over Xavier Pons, and 29-seconds over Nani Roma. The Qatari driver won overall in 2011 and 2015, and this year shares the No. 301 Hilux Toyota for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA with co-driver Matthieu Baumel. Al-Attiyah survived a smoke scare to make it to the stage finish.

Roma is in the No. 305 Toyota, while Pons is in the No. 311 Ranger Ford for DMAS South Racing.

Of note, 2016 Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel sits a minute, 34 seconds in arrears, with Carlos Sainz 33 seconds back, Sebastien Loeb 55 seconds back, Mikko Hirvonen one minute and 20 seconds back, and 24 Hours of Le Mans/FIA World Endurance Champion Romain Dumas one minute and 44 seconds back.

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The other stage one class winners were Martin Kolomy (Trucks, No. 508 Phoenix Tatra, Tatra Buggyra Racing), Tim Coronel (UTV, No. 347 Swift GL Suzuki, Maxxis Dakar Team Powered by Super B) and Marcelo Medeiros (Quads, No. 271 YFM700R Yamaha, Taguatur Racing Team).

Here was the stage map.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. โ€” The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, โ€™75 and โ€™76; the race wasnโ€™t held in โ€™74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

โ€œI think whatโ€™s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think thatโ€™s why weโ€™re such high achievers,โ€ Blomqvist said. โ€œI think thereโ€™s no egos. Itโ€™s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think thatโ€™s why weโ€™ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.โ€

Itโ€™s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSAโ€™s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. Itโ€™s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona forย WeatherTech Racing and the teamโ€™s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

โ€œWinning by last IMSA race is tremendous,โ€ MacNeil said.

GTD:ย The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brandโ€™s 13th attempt.

Itโ€™s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3:ย Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the teamโ€™s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.