Dakar 2017: Rainouts prompt revised route, longest day yet on Day 7

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The 38th Dakar Rally is officially past the halfway point with Monday’s Stage 7 now in the books.

The Rally, originally scheduled for 8,782 kilometers (5,456.88 miles), concludes with Stage 12 on Saturday.

But Monday’s stage was different than what was originally planned, as weather forced the route to be changed due to rain in Bolivia. In so doing, the overall length of the race was also extended by 179 kilometers to 8,972 kilometers (5,574 miles).

Calling it an “unprecedented” change, rally organizers combined elements of what was originally scheduled for Stage 6 and 7 after Stage 5 was cut in half due to rain and Stage 6 was completely cancelled, also because of rain.

Per a statement from the ASO, organizers of the Rally, “Following the cancellation of Stage 6 on the eve of the rest day (Sunday), persistent bad weather conditions forced the race directors to change the course of Stage 7 from La Paz to Uyuni. A new course was designed and a new road book was drafted during the rest day.”

Stage 7 was originally planned for a 622-kilometer route from La Paz to the Uyuni Salt Flats.

But with the changes, the new route was lengthened to the longest section of the Rally, 801 kilometers, taking borrowing from parts of a 400 kilometer link scheduled for Stage 6, parts of the originally planned 240-kilometer route for Stage 7 and a special 161 kilometer bridge link between the two segments.

Here’s how Stage 7 played out:

The Peugeots of Stephane Peterhansel and Sebastien Loeb took the top two spots in the Cars class, with Giniel De Villiers taking third.

The ending was the same as halfway, with Peterhansel, Loeb and De Villiers 1-2-3.

Peterhansel and fellow French co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret remain in the overall lead in Cars.

As for motorcycles, American Ricky Brabec captured the stage after overall race leader Sam Sunderland inexplicably stopped 38 kilometers into the route. There has been no word yet on what prompted Sunderland to come to a halt.

Even though Sunderland stopped, he resumed on the day and ended third, and remains the overall class leader.

Click here to check out my colleague Tony DiZinno’s story on Brabec’s Stage 7 win.

In the quads, Sergey Karyakin took the top spot in the overall Rally with a top performance in Stage 7, followed by Axel Dutrie and Ignacio Casale.

And in Trucks, it was a three-way sweep by Russian drivers Dmitry Sotnikov, Rusian Akhmadeev and Igor Leonov.

However, Gerard De Rooy remains the overall leader.

Here’s a few other tidbits via social media as we prepare for Stage 8 on Tuesday, which leaves Bolivia and heads into Argentina – the route going from Uyuni to Salta:

And then there was even a special visitor for Stage 7: world windsurfing champion Robby Naish.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change