Dakar Stage 4 Highlights: Ricky Brabec wins stage, takes lead

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Ricky Brabec lost his way on Wednesday in Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally. Finishing 12th in that stage cost him and he was ranked seventh in the overall standings, but Brabec came roaring back in Stage 4. He won his first stage of the year by a margin of six minutes, 19 seconds over Matthias Walkner.

“I needed it,” Brabec said at Dakar.com. “Yesterday was tough on me and I lost a lot of time. Today I really, really needed to push with the marathon night and motocross start tomorrow. It kind of helps me because tomorrow I can kind of just hang back and have the stage under my control and finish where I want. With the motocross start it makes it easy to manage.”

Robby Gordon and his Team Speed teammates were originally listed as failing to start Stage 4 due to a clerical error. Gordon completed the stage 40th with a time of six hours, 28 minutes and 38 seconds. Blade Hildebrand is also still running. The third teammate Cole Potts is not racing in Stage 5, but is eligible to return.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Nasser Al-Attiyah has won at least two stages in nine of the past 10 Dakars. … Stephane Peterhansel finished close behind, but lost another 1:52 to the overall leader. … Jakub Przygonski rounded out the top three. … Sebastian Loeb suffered three punctures on the stage and was riding on a deflated tire at the end in fifth place. He lost 12:23 on the stage and now trails the overall leader Al-Attiyah by 50 minutes.

Overall: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 8:55 over Peterhansel and 20:51 over Nani Roma

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec made up all the ground he lost in the last stage plus a lot more to win. … Matthias Walkner fell 6:19 behind with Toby Price ending the stage 7:07 back. … Sam Sunderland took a fall in the rock and lost 13:35 to Brabec, but still managed to finish fifth. … Pablo Quintanilla had a tough outing and finished 14th on the stage.

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 2:19 over Quintanilla and 4:22 over Price.

In side by sides Sergei Kariakin keeps improving. After finishing eighth in Stage 1, he has stood on the podium in each successive stage with thirds in Stage 2 and 3. This is his first win of the season. … Rodrigo Piazzoli and Gerard Farres Guell round out the top three. … Casey Currie had navigation issues and a puncture before finishing ninth in the stage.

Overall: Kariakin holds an advantage of 11:26 over Guell and 30:00 over Piazolli

In quads, Nicolas Cavigliasso won his third stage of the year and has not finished worse than second so far in 2019. … Twenty-three year old Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished second to score his third podium of the year. … Alexandre Giroud rounded out the top three.

Overall: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of 1:00 over Ferioli and 2:00 over Gustavo Gallego

In trucks, Andrey Karginov got off to a slow start with a sixth-place finish in Stage 1 and a seventh the following day; he’s won the last two stages to make up for that and sits second in the overall rankings. … Martin Macik and Airat Mardeev round out the top three. … Overall leader Eduard Nikolaev finished fifth in the stage and gave up more than 13 minutes to his closest challenger Karginov. … After a spectacular crash yesterday, Siarhei Viazovich powered on to finish fourth in the stage.

Overall: Nikolaev holds and advantage of 4:58 over Karginov and 8:39 over Dmitry Sotnikov

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Matthias Walkner [1] (Stage 2), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3) and Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 4) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4), Sebastien Loeb [1] (Stage 2) and Stephane Peterhansel [1] (Stage 3)

Side-by-sides
Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Francisco Lopez Contardo [1] (Stage 2), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3) and Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [2] (Stage 1 and 2) and Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4)

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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