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)

For more watch the daily highlight show on NBCSN. Click here for the complete schedule.

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Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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