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Dakar Rally: Al-Attiyah (Cars), Sunderland (Bikes) roar back to win Stage 3

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Editor’s note: Check out Stage 2 highlights tonight on NBCSN at 11 p.m. ET, and Stage 3 highlights Tuesday on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET.

As Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally rolled to a conclusion Monday, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah rallied back to win his second stage in the first three.

The two-time Dakar champion dominated Stage 3 of the 14-stage event in the Car class, rolling through the Peruvian sand dunes as if it was a day at the beach for him.

The stage began in Pisco, Peru and ended in San Juan De Marcona, Peru. Al-Attiyah won the opening stage on Saturday, but fell back in the second stage on Sunday due to a pair of flat tires.

Even though he suffered another flat tire early in Monday’s Stage 3, a quick repair job allowed him to roar back to win and cut overall leader and defending Rally champion Stephane Peterhansel’s overall event lead to just under eight minutes. Stage 2 winner, France’s Cyril Despres, finished second Monday, three minutes behind Al-Attiyah.

There was one significant incident in the stage. Spain’s Nani Roma, who won the Rally in 2014, rolled his car close to the finish line. He managed to roll the damaged vehicle across the finish line, but was then whisked away to a local hospital with reported head and neck injuries.

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

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup

Here’s how all five classes fared after Stage 3, as well as the overall leaders after the first three stages:

CARS

  • 1. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 3:09:08
  • 2. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 3:13:13
  • 3. Spain’s Carlos Sainz, Peugeot, 3:15:15
  • 4. France’s Cyril Despres, Peugeot, 3:16:51
  • 5. France’s Sebastien Loeb, Peugeot, 3:17:42

OVERALL LEADERS

  • 1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel
  • 2. France’s Cyril Despres
  • 3. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah
  • 4. France’s Sebastien Loeb
  • 5. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers

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MOTORCYCLES

In the other marquee class in the Rally, British motorcycle rider Sam Sunderland captured his second of the first three stages, defeating Argentina’s Kevin Benavides by more than three minutes on Monday.

In doing so, Sunderland is back atop the overall standings heading into Tuesday’s Stage 4. Joan Barreda Bort, who won Stage 2, missed a turn in Stage 3, was forced to double back and took a huge drop to 28th in the overall standings.

  • 1. England’s Sam Sunderland, KTM, 3:20:43
  • 2. Argentina’s Kevin Benevides, Honda, 3:02:27
  • 3. Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 3:24:11
  • 4. USA’s Ricky Brabec, Honda, 3:24:38
  • 5. Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, 3:25:03

As for the position of the five Americans in the class:

  • 4th: Ricky Brabec (Honda), 3:24:38
  • 25th: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 3:45:02
  • 26th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 3:46:51
  • 72nd: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 4:44:40
  • 109th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 5:38:13

OVERALL LEADERS

  • 1. England’s Sam Sunderland
  • 2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides
  • 3. Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla
  • 4. Australia’s Toby Price
  • 5. USA’s Ricky Brabec]

Here’s how Barreda Bort’s day went:

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TRUCK

Argentina’s Federico Villagra rolled to the Stage 3 triumph, beating defending Rally champion, Russian Eduard Nikolaev, by 25 seconds in Stage 3. Russia’s Ayrat Mardeev came in third with Czech Republic’s Martin Macik and Belarus’s Aliaksei Vishneuski a distant fourth and fifth respectively.

However, Nikolaev retained the overall lead in the class by nearly a seven-minute margin over Villagra.

  • 1. Argentina’s Federico Villagra (Iveco), 3:57:37
  • 2. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz), 3:57:12
  • 3. Russia’s Ayrat Mardeev (Kamaz), 4:00:46
  • 4. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik (Liaz), 4:09:55
  • 5. Belarus’s Aliaksei Vishneuski (Maz), 4:21:04

OVERALL LEADERS

  • 1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  • 2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra
  • 3. Belarus’s Aliaksei Vishneuski
  • 4. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich
  • 5. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik

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QUADS

  • 1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale (Yamaha), 3:58:08
  • 2. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez (Yamaha), 4:07:03
  • 3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti (Yamaha), 4:13:00
  • 4. Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros (Yamaha), 4:13:07
  • 5. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego (Yamaha), 4:15:51

OVERALL LEADERS

  • 1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  • 2. Russia’s Sergei Kariakin
  • 3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti
  • 4. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez
  • 5. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego

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SxS UTV

  • 1. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos (Can-Am), 4:30:36
  • 2. France’s Patricie Garrouste (Polaris), 4:47:49
  • 3. France’s Claudio Fournier (Polaris), 5:12:48
  • 4. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga (Polaris), 5:56:59
  • 5. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela (Can-Am), 6:35:02

OVERALL LEADERS

  • 1. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos
  • 2. France’s Patricie Garrouste
  • 3. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga
  • 4. France’s Claudio Fournier
  • 5. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela

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STAGE 4: On Tuesday, the Rally will take a circuitous course that both begins and ends in San Juan de Marcona, Peru.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”