Dakar Stage 5 Highlights: Sebastien Loeb closes in on Dakar leaders

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With a solid showing in Stage 5 of the Dakar Rally, Sam Sunderland closed to within less than a minute behind overall leader Ricky Brabec in the motorcycle class. The overall leader Brabec finished more than six minutes off the leader’s pace.

Sebastian Loeb won the stage for the car to shave more than 10 minutes off leader Nasser Al-Attiyah’s advantage and now sits 40 minutes behind.

“It was a very good day for me,” Loeb said at Dakar.com. “We pushed really hard from the start to the end of the stage, with no mistakes, no punctures, nothing. We had a perfect day. We’ll see where we are [in the standings]. The road-book was correct today, so we didn’t make any mistakes and it was good.”

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb proved that he is not going to be discounted in the 2019 Dakar by winning his second stage; he also won Stage 2. … Nasser Al-Attiyah gained 16 minutes on his principal rival Stephane Peterhansel. … Nani Roma rounded out the top three. … Peterhansel finished fourth on the stage.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 24:42 over Peterhansel and 34:33 over Roma

In motorcycles, Sam Sunderland stopped to assist Paulo Concalves and was credited with the win after 10 minutes was subtracted from his time for the assistance. … Jose Florimo finished 2:25 behind with Xavier de Soutrait rounding out the top three. … A cautious start to the stage contributed to Ricky Brabec’s 12th-place finish in the stage. He lost 6:46 to Sunderland. … Pablo Quintanilla finished 14th, 7:19 and fell to third overall.

Class Leaders: Brabec holds an advantage of 0:59 over Sunderland and 2:52 over Quintanilla

In side by sides Rodrigo Piazolli became the fifth different winning in five stages this year with a time of six hours, 33 minutes, 52 seconds. … He narrowly beat Reinaldo Varela, who was looking for his second stage win after taking the victory on day 1. … Gerard Farres Guell finished 32:42 behind the leader in third.

Class Leaders: Piazzoli holds an advantage of 1:42 over Varela and 14:08 over Guell

In quads, Nicolas Cavigliasso continued to dominate the rally with his fourth stage win. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli has come close on several occasions with one stage win and three runner-up finishes. … Gustavo Gallego finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of 1:00 over Feriolii and 2:00 over Gallego

In trucks, After dropping back to back stages to Andrey Karginov, Eduard Nikolaev was back at the top of the leaderboard for his third stage win. …  Dmitry Sotnikov and Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Karginov finished fourth, but was later excluded from the race.A statement from the organization of the rally stated, “At Kilometer 279 of the SS a 60-year-old man from South Africa who was watching the race in an unsecured area (outside the established spectator’s zone), was hit by a race truck (#518 Andrey Karginov). The competitor was excluded from the by the jury of commissioners for not stopping to attend to the injured spectator.”

Overall: Nikolaev holds and advantage of 11:54 over Sornikov and 16:45 over Karginov.

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Matthias Walkner [1] (Stage 2), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Sam Sunderland [1] (Stage 5)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [4] (Stage 1, 2, 4 and 5), Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4), Sebastien Loeb [2] (Stage 2 and 5) 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), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5) 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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