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Al-Attiyah, Sunderland stake early leads in Stage 1 of Dakar Rally

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Editor’s note: Don’t miss NBCSN’s first report from Dakar on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The 40th annual Dakar Rally – and its 10th consecutive year in South America – opened Saturday with lots of action in Stage 1.

Most importantly, rain – which was a constant hindrance in last year’s Rally, including washing out one full stage and drastically shortening another – was nowhere in sight.

The 31-kilometer (19.26 miles) inaugural sprint kicked off the 14-stage, two-week event in the morning starting in Lima, Peru and ending in nearby Pisco, Peru.

For the second straight year, Robby Gordon – a perennial Rally fan favorite – is not entered.

In fact, there are only six U.S. competitors in the 523 “adventurer’s” field: One entrant in Cars (Bryce Menzies) and five in Motorcycles (Ricky Brabec, Andrew Short, Mark Samuels, Bill Conger, and Shane Esposito).

MORE: Dakar Rally kicks off today, marks 40th year overall and 10th year in South America.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, all competitors

Here’s results and highlights from Saturday’s Stage 1:

CARS

In the marquee Cars class, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah – a two-time Rally winner – took his Toyota to the No. 1 spot in a time of 21 minutes, 51 seconds.

Second through fifth were:

  • Holland’s Bernhard ten Brinke, Toyota, 22:16
  • Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs, Borgward, 22:25
  • U.S.’s Bryce Menzies (co-driver Peter Mortensen), Mini, 22:29
  • Spain’s Nani Roma, Mini, 22:44

MOTORCYCLES

Defending champion Sam Sunderland of Britain (although he now lives in Dubai) had an outstanding first Stage, clocking in at 20:55 to grab the early lead in the class.

Second through fifth were:

  • France’s Adrien van Beveren, Yamaha, 21:28
  • Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, 21:51
  • Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, 21:52
  • France’s Xavier De Soultrait, Yamaha, 22:02

Also, here’s the position and times of the five U.S. riders in the class:

  • 11th: Ricky Brabec, Honda, 23:42
  • 27th: Andrew Short, Husqvarna, 25:46
  • 35th: Mark Samuels, Honda, 27:01
  • 93rd: Bill Conger, Husqvarna, 43:32
  • 125th: Shane Esposito, KTM, 2.39:54

QUADS

  • 1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 27:32
  • 2. Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, Yamaha, 28:32
  • 3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti, Yamaha, 30:31
  • 4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, Yamaha, 30:40
  • 5. Poland’s Rafal Sonik, Yamaha, 31:33

SxS UTV

  • 1. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga, Polaris, 31:27
  • 2. Spain’s Jose Pena Campo, Polaris, 34:28
  • 3. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 34:50
  • 4. Portugal’s Pedro De Mello Breyner, Yamaha, 35:10
  • 5. Italy’s Camelia Liparoti, Yamaha, 35:13]

TRUCK

  • 1. Czech Republic’s Ales Loprais, Tatra, 25:15
  • 2. Netherland’s Martin Van den Brink, Renault, 25:37
  • 3. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 25:44
  • 4. Netherland’s Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 26:26
  • 5. Russia’s Anton Shibalov, Kamaz, 26:33

NOTES:

  • The first crash of the day involved Lebanese drivers Jad Comair and Antoine Iskandar’s BMW, which rolled over in the sand dunes area of the course. Both drivers were uninjured.
  • The first contestant eliminated was Portuguese motorcycle rider Joaquim Rodrigues, who was participating in his first Dakar Rally. Rodrigues managed to get just a few hundred meters from the starting line before he was involved in a spectacular crash that sent him to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
  • Saturday’s opening stage was easy in comparison to what’s coming up. Sunday’s Stage 2 will be a circuitous 279 kilometer (173.3 miles) route that begins and ends in Pisco, Peru.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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