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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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”