Sunderland won bike stage. Photo: Getty Images

Dakar 2017: Shortened stage sees Loeb, Sunderland win on Day 5

Leave a comment

Stage five of the Dakar Rally, form Tupiza to Oruro, saw a familiar face back on top in cars and a new one emerge in bikes.

Coverage of stage five occurs on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN. It marks a quick departure from either the 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. ET times this week.

The stage was shortened due to bad weather, at late notice.

Peugeot carried its stage win streak to four in a row in cars in Friday’s shortened fifth stage, and now featured the first repeat stage winner.

Sebastien Loeb, who won Tuesday’s stage two, took the win today over Nani Roma and Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel, who won stage three, now regains the overall lead over Loeb. Cyril Despres, who sits third overall, won stage four.

The only Toyota winner thus far was Nasser Al-Attiyah in stage one, and the Qatari driver’s retirement was confirmed before stage four.

Sam Sunderland made it five winners in as many stages in bikes, with his stage win in stage five today.

The Englishman, riding the No. 14 KTM, finished ahead of Adrien van Beveren (No. 6 Yamaha) and Juan Pedrero (No. 12 Sherco TVS) on today’s stage.

The previous stage winners were Pedrero (stage one), Toby Price (two), Joan Barreda (three) and Matthias Walkner (four). Price’s accident on Thursday knocked the defending bike champion out of this year’s rally and worse, left him with a fractured left femur.

Here’s a quick update on another bike rider Jurgen van der Goorbergh:

And here’s an update in the quad and truck classes.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”