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.

Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda dies at 70

AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File
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BERLIN (AP) Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda’s family said in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday: “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”

Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.

In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix but made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.

Born on Feb. 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.

Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.

Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers’ title with five victories the following season.

Facing tough competition from McLaren’s James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix. Several drivers stopped to help pull him from the burning car, but the accident would scar him for life. The baseball cap Lauda almost always wore in public became a personal trademark.

“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” he recalled nearly a decade later. “It was something like 800 degrees.”

Lauda fell into a coma for a time. He said that “for three or four days it was touch and go.”

“Then my lungs recovered and I got my skin grafts done, then basically there was nothing left,” he added. “I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any (other) damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that.”

Lauda made his comeback just six weeks after the crash, finishing fourth at Monza after overcoming his initial fears.

He recalled “shaking with fear” as he changed into second gear on the first day of practice and thinking, “I can’t drive.”

The next day, Lauda said he “started very slowly trying to get all the feelings back, especially the confidence that I’m capable of driving these cars again.” The result, he said, boosted his confidence and after four or five races “I had basically overcome the problem of having an accident and everything went back to normal.”

He won his second championship in 1977 before switching to Brabham and then retiring in 1979 to concentrate on setting up his airline, Lauda Air, declaring that he “didn’t want to drive around in circles anymore.”

Lauda came out of retirement in 1982 after a big-money offer from McLaren, reportedly about $3 million a year.

He finished fifth his first year back and 10th in 1983, but came back to win five races and edge out teammate Alain Prost for his third title in 1984. He retired for good the following year, saying he needed more time to devote to his airline business.

Initially a charter airline, Lauda Air expanded in the 1980s to offer flights to Asia and Australia. In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand after one of its engine thrust reversers accidentally deployed during a climb, killing all 213 passengers and 10 crew.

Lauda occasionally took the controls of the airline’s jets himself over the years. In 1997, longtime rival Austrian Airlines took a minority stake and in 2000, with the company making losses, he resigned as board chairman after an external audit criticized a lack of internal financial control over business conducted in foreign currency. Austrian Airlines later took full control.

Lauda founded a new airline, Niki, in 2003. Germany’s Air Berlin took a minority stake and later full control of that airline, which Lauda bought back in early 2018 after it fell victim to its parent’s financial woes.

He partnered with budget carrier Ryanair on Niki’s successor, LaudaMotion.

On the Formula One circuit, Lauda later formed a close bond with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013. He often backed Hamilton in public and provided advice and counsel to the British driver.

Lauda also intervened as a Mercedes mediator when Hamilton and his former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg feuded, argued and traded barbs as they fought for the title between 2014-16

Lauda twice underwent kidney transplants, receiving an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and, when that stopped functioning well, a kidney donated by his girlfriend in 2005.

In August 2018, he underwent a lung transplant that the Vienna General Hospital said was made necessary by a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give details.

Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, and their twin children Max and Mia. He had two adult sons, Lukas and Mathias, from his first marriage.