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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.

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”