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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


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


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.


  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


  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



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.


  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


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


  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



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.


  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


  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



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.


  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


  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




  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


  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


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.

Wickens shares new update, shown working on a pedal machine as he continues rehab

Photo: IndyCar
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Robert Wickens continues his recovery from injuries sustained in a crash at Pocono Raceway in August.

On Friday, Wickens posted a new video of his rehab efforts on his twitter page. In the new update, Wickens is shown working on a pedal machine while connected to electrodes as part of his physical therapy.

Wickens even quipped “I’m riding a bike!” in the short video.

The IndyCar Series community continues to rally around Wickens and offer support as he continues the rehab process, and several of his fellow drivers responded and offered more messages of support.

Prior to the season-ending INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma, Wickens released his first video update since the Pocono crash, thanking everyone for their concerns and kind words of encouragement.