Dakar Rally: Van Beveren (Bikes), Loeb (Cars) win Stage 4

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Editor’s note: Check out Stage 4 highlights tonight on NBCSN at 12 a.m. ET.

Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Dakar Rally saw the second big name of the event withdraw.

Defending Rally Motorcycle champion Sam Sunderland of the United Kingdom suffered a debilitating back injury near the end of the stage. He attempted to finish the round but fell short, and then was transported by helicopter to a local hospital after losing feeling in his legs after a hard jump.

Sunderland, who had won both Stage 1 and Stage 3, becomes the second big name and anticipated favorite to exit the Rally in the first four stages.

Car driver Bryce Menzies from the U.S. and co-driver Peter Mortensen were knocked out of the Rally after a hard crash in Stage 2 that destroyed their Mini.

While both Menzies and Mortensen were uninjured, it ended what arguably was the best chance for any U.S. competitor to win a Rally title in any of the five major classes in this year’s tournament.

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

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup

Here’s a breakdown of how Stage 4 played out on Tuesday:

MOTORCYCLES

Sunderland was in the lead in both the stage and overall rating when his accident occurred Tuesday. He tried to finish the route but came up short of completing his ride.

As a result, France’s Adrien van Beveren not only won the stage, he also took the overall lead, both from Sunderland. France’s Xavier de Soutrait finished second, followed by Austria’s Matthias Walkner in third.

Of note was the huge rebound of Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort, who fell to 28th in the overall standings following Monday’s Stage 3 after missing a turn and having to backtrack.

Barreda Bort bounced back to finish ninth Tuesday with a time of 4:18:23 and climbed back to 13th in the overall standings.

Also of note, American rider Mark Samuels jumped from 109th in Stage 3 to finish 35th in Stage 4.

STAGE 4 RESULTS

  1. France’s Adrien van Beveren, Yamaha, 4:08:23
  2. France’s Xavier de Soutrait, Yamaha, 4:13:24
  3. Austria’s Matthias Walkner, KTM, 4:15:33
  4. Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, 4:15:55
  5. Slovakia’s Stefan Svitko, KTM, 4:16:08

AMERICAN RIDERS STAGE 4 RESULTS

22nd: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 4:27:16

24th: Ricky Brabec (Honda), 4:32:07

28th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 4:40:16

35th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 4:50:59

95th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 7:03:19

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. France’s Adrien van Beveren
  2. Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla
  3. Argentina’s Kevin Benevides
  4. Austria’s Matthias Walkner
  5. France’s Xavier de Soutrait

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CARS

France’s Sebastien Loeb won Stage 4, followed by Spain’s Carlos Sainz and France’s Stephane Peterhansel.

Two-time Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, of Qatar, won Stages 1 and 3, but was forced to stop twice in Stage 4 and finished 11th.

France’s Cyril Despres, who came into Stage 4 second in the overall rankings, suffered a broken rear wheel about halfway through the course and it appears he will join Menzies and Sunderland as being out of the tournament for good.

Lastly, Nani Roma, who crashed at the end of Stage 3 on Monday, apparently suffered more serious injuries than first thought.

He was airlifted to a Lima hospital with head and neck injuries. While he did not suffer any fractures, he was expected to remain in the hospital for several days.

STAGE 4 RESULTS

  1. France’s Sebastien Loeb, Peugeot, 3:57:53
  2. Spain’s Carlos Sainz, Peugeot, 3:59:28
  3. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 4:01:09
  4. Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, Mini, 4:32:29
  5. Italy’s Eugenio Amos, Ford, 4:33:39

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel
  2. France’s Sebastien Loeb
  3. Spain’s Carlos Sainz
  4. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah
  5. Netherland’s Bernhard ten Brinke

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TRUCK

Defending Rally champion, Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, won his second stage of the event, holding off Argentina’s Federico Villagra and the Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy.

STAGE 4 RESULTS

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 4:35:08
  2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra, Iveco, 5:03:05
  3. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, Tatra, 5:13:57
  4. Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara, Hino, 5:48:23
  5. Netherland’s Gert Huznik, Renault, 5:51:41

OVERALL LEADERS

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra
  3. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Macek
  5. Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara

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QUADS

  1. Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, Yamaha, 4:56:34
  2. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 4:57:17
  3. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez (Yamaha), 5:02:05
  4. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego (Yamaha), 5:04:35
  5. France’s Axel Dutrie, Yamaha, 5:04:48

OVERALL LEADERS

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

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SxS UTV

  1. France’s Patricie Garroueste, Polaris, 5:43:45
  2. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 6:09:18
  3. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga, Polaris, 7:28:50
  4. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 7:35:00
  5. Spain’s Jose Pena Campos, Polaris, 7:44:08

OVERALL LEADERS

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

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STAGE 5: On Wednesday, the Rally begins in San Juan de Marcona, Peru and ends in Arequipa, Peru

 

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.