Dakar Stage 2 Highlights: Loeb wins stage, de Villiers takes overall

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Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally featured close finishes in the car and motorcycle classes.

Sebastien Loeb won the second stage on the Peruvian dunes – the site of last year’s accident.

Here are some of the highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb, finished eight seconds ahead of Nani Roma. Third-place Bernhard Ten Brinke was 1:20 behind. … Giniel de Villiers was the biggest gainer of the stage. Finishing fourth, he grabbed the overall lead. … Recovering from a neck injury sustained in 2016, Harry Hunt has returned to the Rally to finish ninth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2. … Nasser Al-Attiyah finished 11th in the stage and fell to eight overall after losing more than seven minutes in Stage 2. … Orlando Terranova was transported to the hospital with back pain after a hard landing in the dunes. … Robby Gordon finished 25th in the stage and is 24th overall.

“For us it was not an easy stage,” Stephane Peterhansel said on Dakar.com, after finishing 17th. “We started with some electrical problems inside the car: no microphones, no air-conditioning, no wipers, nothing was ok. I lost my concentration a little bit and after I got stuck in a really bad place. We are happy because Cyril (Despres) stopped for us and pulled us out. In the end we have lost a lot of time, but without the help of Cyril I think we would probably still be in the same place, so it’s ok.”

Overall: Giniel de Villiers holds an advantage of 0:28 over Ten Brinke and 0:42 over Roma.

In motorcycles, Matthias Walkner edged Ricky Brabec at the end of the stage in the last few kilometers. He crossed into the staging area just 22 seconds ahead of his American rival. This was his fourth career stage win. … Joan Barreda finished third, but holds onto the overall lead. … Andrew Short finished ninth in the stage and is 10th overall.

Overall: Barreda holds an advantage of 1:31 over Walkner and 1:33 over Brabec.

In side by sides it was another narrow victory, this time for Francisco Lopez Contardo over Reinaldo Varela by a margin of only 19 seconds. … Sergei Kariakin finished third (1:51 behind). Casey Currie had navigation issues that relegated him to 16th in the stage – losing 45 minutes to the overall.

Overall: Varella holds an advantage of 1:08 over Contardo and 6:35 over Kariakin

In quads, Nicolas Caviglisasso crushed the stage with an advantage of 11:18 over Gustavo Gallego. … Alexandre Giroud finished third, which is where he also sits in the overall standings.

Overall: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of 21:14 over Gallego and 30:02 over Giroud.

In trucks, Eduard Nikolaev scored his second consecutive stage win to beat Gerard de Rooy by 2:39. Dmitry Sotnikov finished third. … Martin Van Den Brink wrecked during the stage.

Overall: Nokolaev holds an advantage of 4:23 over De Rooy and 7:23 over Federico Villagra.

Stage Wins

Motorcycles: (1) Joan Barreda (Stage 1) and (1) Matthias Walkner, Stage 2
Quads: (2) Nicolas Cavigliasso (Stage 1 and Stage 2)
Cars: (1) Nasser Al-Attiyah (Stage 1) and (1) Sebastien Loeb (Stage 2)
Side-by-sides: (1) Reinaldo Varela (Stage 1) and (1) Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2)
Trucks: (2) Eduard Nikolaev (Stage 1 and Stage 2)

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.