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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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.