Dakar Rally Stage 6: Sainz (Cars), Meo (Bikes), Villagra (Trucks) lead the way

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From the desert to the mountains and on to a new playing field.

That pretty much summed up Stage 6 of the 14-stage Dakar Rally in South America.

The competition began in Arequipa, Peru before crossing the border into Bolivia, eventually ending up in the vibrant city of La Paz.

MORE: Stage 6 video highlights.

It is in La Paz where all those still in contention will enjoy a rare day off Friday to not only retool their bodies and minds, but also their vehicles, be they Cars, Trucks, Quads, Motorcycles or UTVs.

Remember, after Friday, there are still eight more stages in the Rally.

And if you think the first six stages have been tough, not to mention knocking out some of the Rally’s favored competitors, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The route rolls through much of the southern part of Bolivia for Stages 7 through 9 before moving on to the last country that will host the final five stages starting next Tuesday, Argentina.

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

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup

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So let’s break down what happened in Thursday’s Stage 6:

CARS

Spain’s Carlos Sainz, who won the Rally in 2010, made his biggest jump upward in this year’s edition of the Rally, winning Stage 6.

He overtook Peugeot teammate and heavy favorite Stephane Peterhansel of France, who finished second, during the round and closed Peterhansel’s lead in the overall standings.

Two-time Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, who has already won two stages in this year’s event, finished finished third.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Spain’s Carlos Sainz, Peugeot, 02:53:30
  2. France’s Stephane Peterhansel, Peugeot, 2:57:36
  3. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota, 2:58:35
  4. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers, Toyota, 2:59:01
  5. France’s Cyril Despres, Peugeot, 3:02:19

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. France’s Stephane Peterhansel
  2. Spain’s Carlos Sainz – 27:10 behind
  3. Netherland’s Bernhard ten Brinke – 1:20:41
  4. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah – 1:24:20
  5. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers – 1:35:59

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MOTORCYCLES

Weather impacted the Rally for the first time on Thursday, particularly for the Bikes.

The first part of the route for Bikes was cancelled due to rain.

Despite the soggy conditions early on, France’s Antoine Meo had his second straight strong day, and this time rode his KTM to victory in the stage.

Meo held off a late charge by Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, who finished second, followed by third-place finisher, Australia’s Toby Price.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. France’s Antoine Meo, KTM, 1:54:10
  2. Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, Honda, 1:54:40
  3. Australia’s Toby Price, KTM, 1:54:40
  4. Argentina’s Diego Duplessis, Honda, 1:55:23
  5. Spain’s Daniel Oliveras Carreras, KTM, 1:56:05

AMERICAN RIDERS STAGE 6 RESULTS

19th: Ricky Brabec (Honda), 2:00:26

28th: Andrew Short (Husqvarna), 2:04:39

30th: Shane Esposito (KTM), 2:07:06

36th: Mark Samuels (Honda), 2:08:45

84th: Bill Conger (Husqvarna), 2:46:47

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Argentina’s Kevin Benevides
  2. France’s Adrien van Beveren – 1:57 behind
  3. Austria’s Matthias Walkner – 3:50
  4. Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort – 09:33
  5. Australia’s Toby Price – 09:39

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TRUCKS

Argentina’s Federico Villagra roared to the front, and finished with a nearly three-minute lead over second-place finisher, Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, and third-place finisher, Ton van Genugten of the Netherlands.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Argentina’s Federico Villagra, Iveco, 3:22:23
  2. Czech Republic’s Martin Kolomy, Tatra, 3:25:09
  3. Netherland’s Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 3:25:21
  4. Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov, Kamaz, 3:26:01
  5. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik, Liaz, 3:26:26

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev
  2. Argentina’s Federico Villagra – 52:40 behind
  3. Belarus’s Siarhei Vlazovich – 2:24:42
  4. Czech Republic’s Martin Macik – 3:14:18
  5. Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov – 3:59:13

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QUADS

It took him two years, but Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finally got the stage win he had sought ever since leaving the 2016 Rally early due to a heavy wreck that was irreparable.

Argentina’s Pablo Copetti finished second, followed by Paraguay’s Nelson Sanabria Galeano.

Chile’s Ignacio Casale finished fourth but held on to his commanding lead in the overall standings.

STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, Yamaha, 2:29:16
  2. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti, Yamaha, 2:30:56
  3. Paraguay’s Nelson Sanabria Galeano, Yamaha, 2:31:24
  4. Chile’s Ignacia Casale, Yamaha, 2:32:17
  5. France’s Simon Vitse, Yamaha, 2:32:33

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale
  2. Peru’s Alexis Hernandez – 41:30 behind
  3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti – 57:16
  4. Argentina’s Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli – 1:12:23
  5. Argentina’s Gustavo Gallego – 1:16:45

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SxS UTV

 STAGE 6 RESULTS

  1. France’s Patricie Garroueste, Polaris, 3:44:18
  2. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela, Can-Am, 3:46:47
  3. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos, Can-Am, 4:15:46
  4. Argentina’s Leonel Larrauri, Can-Am, 4:20:52
  5. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 4:35:19

OVERALL LEADERS AND GAP

  1. Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela
  2. Peru’s Juan Uribe Ramos – 32:07 behind
  3. France’s Patricie Garroueste – 1:24:13
  4. France’s Claudio Fournier – 3:22:21
  5. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga – 3:32:09

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DAY OFF: Friday marks the one and only rest day during the 15-day event. Competition resumes with Stage 7 on Saturday, beginning in La Paz, Bolivia and ends in Eyuni, Bolivia.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.