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IndyCar: Ganassi hires Formula E’s Felix Rosenqvist to drive in 2019

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Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist will replace Ed Jones for 2019 behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT DATA Honda in IndyCar.

The organization announced Rosenqvist’s hiring Friday morning. He will become teammates with 2018 series champ Scott Dixon.

“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” Rosenqvist said in a media release. “Coming to IndyCar and driving for Chip is just a dream come true.

“I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for. Scott has had another tremendous season with three wins and a fifth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate.

“I can’t wait to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone at NTT DATA.”

It was also announced that NTT DATA has signed a multi-year renewal to remain the primary sponsor on the No. 10 car.

Rosenqvist isn’t exactly a stranger to team owner Chip Ganassi or his organization, having tested a CGR-prepared Indy car for Dixon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in both 2016 and 2017.

“Felix has become familiar with our team and has worked in our system a little bit after coming over to test with us on a few occasions,” Ganassi said. “Our management and engineering groups, along with the entire team, were impressed by his ability.

“The time was right to get him in the No. 10 car and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we are confident about what he can do behind the wheel next season.”

Rosenqvist, 26, of Sweden, spent the last two seasons in the Formula E series, finishing third in 2016-17 (earning the highest-finishing rookie honors) and sixth in the most recent 2017-18 season. In 24 total races over those two seasons, Rosenqvist amassed three wins, seven podiums and six poles.

Also in 2016, Rosenqvist took part in 10 of 18 Indy Lights races, earning three wins and one pole. He finished 12th in the season standings in the part-time season effort.

Prior to that, Rosenqvist capped off a four-year run in FIA Formula 3 by winning the 2015 Formula 3 European Championship.

Dating back to his teen years, the Varnamo, Sweden native won the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 NEX and Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden championships and was the 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Asia Championship winner.

As for Jones, his future plans have not been announced.

Jones spent his IndyCar rookie season in 2017 with Dale Coyne Racing, earning one podium and finishing 14th in the standings.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 and had two podium finishes, eight top-10 showings and finished 13th in the season rankings.

The Dubai, United Arab Emirates-born driver was the 2016 Indy Lights champion and was named 2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year. He also was 2013 European F3 Open champ.

“It’s been a difficult year on the whole,” Jones conceded in a media release. “We’ve had some very good runs but we’ve also been extremely unlucky, with several things that didn’t go our way and six races where we hemorrhaged points due to reasons ranging from punctures to mechanical issues and a couple of crashes – one of them while I was running second close to the end.

“Without that, I’m fairly confident we would have finished inside the top eight in the drivers’ table, and when you consider that six of the top seven overall are former champions, that would have been a pretty decent outcome.

“On the positive side, I’ve learned so much from working alongside both Scott and Dario (driving coach and 4-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti) and the opportunity to draw upon their wealth of combined experience – and I’m a stronger driver for that.”

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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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