Dakar Stage 3 Highlights: Joan Barreda suffers crushing defeat

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Joan Barreda suffered a crushing disappointment in Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally. Entering the 206-mile stage as the overall leader, he dropped down a deep embankment in the fog and became stuck at the bottom of a basin. Unable to extract his motorcycle, he was forced to call for the helicopter and will retire from the rally for the fourth time in nine tries. It was his third retirement in the past four years.

The two overall leaders entering the stage also had trouble. Matthias Walkner and Ricky Brabec placed the blame on the road book, stating that a way point was not where the book showed it to be.

When Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers also got stuck in the sand, they lost major time that allowed Stephane Peterhansel to win the stage and move up in the overall standings.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Stephane Peterhansel scored his 42nd career stage victory in a car by 3:26 over Nasser Al-Attiyah. … Still, given the struggles by Al-Attiyah in Stage 2, this was a notable rebound that allowed him to take over the overall lead. Jakub Przygonski rounded out the podium. … Carlos Sainz nearly lost his front after hitting a ditch about 23 miles into the stage and finished the stage 36th, more than four hours behind the leader; de Villiers finished 40th. Finishing just off the podium, Saudi Yazeed Al Rahji moved up to second overall. In four previous attempts in the Dakar, he has failed to finish twice. … Robby Gordon broke a differential and lost hours making repairs – finishing the stage 83rd. He now trails the overall leader by more than 14 hours.

“The rally is over for us,” Sainz said at Dakar.com. “We fell into a hole and broke the suspension. I’m sad and disappointed, but that’s the way it is. This is what happens in the Dakar.”

Overall: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 6:48 over Yazeed Al Rajhi and 7:03 over Peterhansel.

In motorcycles, Xavier de Soultrait became the third different rider to win the first three stages, but he did so by a whisker of only 15 seconds over Pablo Quintanilla. … Kevin Benavides finished third, which elevated him to second in the overall standings. … Matthias Walkner strayed off course and lost 21 minutes, which dropped him from second overall to eight. He trails Quintanilla by 21:14. … America’s Andrew Short finished 10th on the stage. … When Walkner lost his way, he took Ricky Brabec with him. Brabec finished 12th on the stage.

Overall: Quintanilla holds an advantage of 11:23 over Benavides and 12:12 over Sam Sunderland.

“It was difficult with the fog,” Sunderland said at Dakar.com. “For me, the road book was more or less good, but the problem was on the plateau, with the fog, you couldn’t see. This was the issue so … You really couldn’t see two/three meters in front of you. Finally, I stopped and took my goggles off and I was able to see a bit better. Yeah, a lot of chaos, after that everyone was in a group and everyone was going in front. But yeah, I’m sure we have many more days to come. This is the Dakar, it’s what it’s all about, tough times and up and downs, some carnage in the stage. Really, I just try to take each day as it comes … and try to avoid mistakes.”

In side by sides Gerard Farres Guell scored an easy victory over Francisco Lopez Contardo with an advantage of more than two minutes. … Sergei Kariakin finished 4:42 behind the leader. … Casey Currie finished 11 and half minutes back in fourth.

“Stage 3 was gnarly,” said Casey Currie in the daily highlight show on NBCSN. “The elevation changes in the beginning felt like we should be up where it should be snowing. We went on a really tight rocky road – single line all the way to the top of this mountain … and then we got into some nasty, soft sand. We just pushed all day.”

Overall: Contardo holds an advantage of 3:24 over Guell and 8:06 over Kariakin.

In quads, The top three drivers at the end of this stage are also the top contenders overall. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli scored his first stage win of 2019 and sits second in the overall. … Nicolas Cavigliasso’s second-place in the stage was enough the secure the overall lead with Gustavo Gallego rounding out the podium.

Overall: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of 29:52 over Ferioli and 30:20 over Gallego.

In trucks, Kamaz dominated the stage with a sweep of the top three. Andrey Karginov won after four hours, 26 minutes and 49 seconds. Dmitry Sotnikov and Eduard Nikolaev rounded out the top three. Federico Villagra took his Iveco for Team De Rooy to fourth.

Overall: Nikolaev holds an advantage of 8:25 over Sotnikov and 14:12 over Villagra.

Stage Wins

Motorcycles: [1] Joan Barreda (Stage 1) and [1] Matthias Walkner (Stage 2) and [1] Xavier de Soultrait (Stage 3)
Quads: [2] Nicolas Cavigliasso (Stage 1 and 2) and [1] Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (Stage 3)
Cars: [1] Nasser Al-Attiyah (Stage 1), [1] Sebastien Loeb (Stage 2) [1] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 3)
Side-by-sides: [1] Reinaldo Varela (Stage 1), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2) and [1] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3)
Trucks: (2) Eduard Nikolaev (Stage 1 and 2) and [1] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3)

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

Or check out the streaming show at 6:30-7 p.m. by clicking this link.

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.”