Dakar 2017: Loeb, Peterhansel battle rages in Stage 10

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With the 2017 Dakar Rally restarted on Thursday after a second stage cancellation on Wednesday owing to a massive landslide, the importance of Thursdayโ€™s Stage 10 from Chilecito to San Juan in Argentina grew.

It was a dramatic day with a lot of changes. Highlights will occur on Friday, at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Notes from the day are below:

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In the battle between Peugeot teammates Sebastien Loeb and Stephane Peterhansel, Peterhansel survived an incident while Loeb captured another stage win.

At the first waypoint, Peterhansel took a minute, 36 second lead over Loeb, which left the net between the two of them at this point in the rally a microscopically scant two seconds!

Peterhansel then had an incident with bike rider Simon Marcic, who was assisted by rescue services and diagnosed with an open tibia-fibula fracture.

The third member of the Peugeot runners, Cyril Despres, was ahead at the first checkpoint of the stage and build that as the day went on, while Peterhansel looked to recover.

Loeb and Peterhansel both closed on Despres as the day went on.

By the end of the stage, Loeb overcame the deficit to Despres in order to secure his fourth stage win of this yearโ€™s rally, and thus match the total he achieved last year.

Peterhansel retains the lead with two stages remaining, following a time adjustment.

The day was also difficult for MINIโ€™s Mikko Hirvonen, who was stuck for three hours in a ravine.

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The day in bikes saw KTMโ€™s Sam Sunderland consolidate his lead, while one of the podium contenders was knocked unconscious and one of the dayโ€™s podium finishers evacuated to a hospital on a brutal day in this category.

Sunderland has a 30-minute lead and change while Michael Metge claimed his elusive first win of the rally. Joan Barreda, the Honda rider who lost an hour to a penalty early in the race, was second today with Stefan Svetko in third.

Svetko was evacuated to the hospital after the dayโ€™s stage.

Worse was the luck for Pablo Quintanilla, who had been second for most of the rally but fell off his bike and was diagnosed with head trauma and a loss of consciousness.

Sunderland seems poised to capture the win but isnโ€™t backing down just yet, knowing how brutally tough this Dakar has been in the bike category.

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It was a Russian double in the quads and trucks, with Sergey Karayakin (quads) and Eduard Nikolaev (trucks) taking their respective class wins today.

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STAGE MAP

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STAGEย RECAPS

Stage nine (cancelled due to weather) and (VIDEO)
Stage eightย (VIDEOS)
Rest day VIDEOS
Stage seven
Stage six (cancelled due to weather)
Stage five (shortened due to weather)
Stage four and (VIDEOS)
Stage threeย and (VIDEOS)
Stage twoย and (VIDEOS)
Stage one and (VIDEOS)

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip itโ€™s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And heโ€™s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour โ€“ and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLarenโ€™s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

โ€œThe shock going into the first race was the speed,โ€ Foust told NBC Sports. โ€œIt was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.โ€

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driverโ€™s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth โ€“ but the pace was there and that was important.

โ€œWe had some challenges this season,โ€ Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. โ€œWe had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.โ€

Foustโ€™s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race โ€“ Extreme Eโ€™s version of a Last Chance Qualifier โ€“ and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabiaโ€™s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean โ€“ and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loebโ€™s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

โ€œWhat an improvement for the team over this year,โ€ Foust said after the race. โ€œWe have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

โ€œEmma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

โ€œHopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.โ€

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme Eโ€™s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chileโ€™s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

โ€œIโ€™m loving the experience,โ€ Foust said. โ€œIโ€™m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

โ€œI honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

โ€œI think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.โ€