Dakar Stage 6 Highlights: Sebastien Loeb capatilizes on Al-Attiyah mistake

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Nasser Al-Attiyah made a rare mistake nine miles from the end of Stage 6 of the Dakar Rally and handed the win over to Sebastien Loeb.

Looking for a waypoint, Al-Attiyah drove into the wrong valley, which allowed Loeb to get to the end of the stage 2:17 ahead of the class leader.

“We did a great job all day long, but we made a blunder in the final 15 kilometres,” Al-Attiyah said at Dakar.com. “We went down the wrong valley, and then it took us a long time to backtrack and get back on the right track. It cost us several minutes, but I’m still happy with our position. It was a good performance, even though I know Sébastien is fighting and I’ll have to battle hard. It’s not really that comfortable, but it’s good to have this very difficult stage behind us.”

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb’s stage victory came after he passed the spot where he crashed last year. … Nasser Al-Attiyah’s rare mistake was not enough to cost him the class lead; he holds it by more than 37 minutes over Loeb. … Carlos Sainz finished third in the stage, but remains more than five hours behind the leader in 11th. … Stephane Peterhansel lost nearly 17 minutes to Al-Attiyah and finished sixth in the stage. His time was lost when he stopped to render assistance to Cyril Despres and got stuck himself.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 37:43 over Loeb and 41:14 over Peterhansel

In motorcycles, Pablos Quintanilla became the sixth different rider to win one of the first six stages. … Kevin Benavides scored his second stage podium with a rally-best second-place finish. … Matthias Walkner rounded out the top three. … Toby Price protected his position of third in the class rankings by finishing fourth in the stage. … Ricky Brabec lost 7:30 to the class leader Quintanilla. … Sam Sunderland was first on the course and lost his way. He also his rear brake and almost 23 minutes before finding his way home. … Skylar Howes scored his first Dakar stage top 10 in Stage 5, but was injured in the dunes and forced to retire while running in the top 20 in class.

Class Leaders: Quintanilla holds an advantage of 4:38 over Brabec and 5:17 over Price

In side by sides Francisco Lopez Contardo became the first rider to score two stage wins; his first came in Stage 2. … Gerard Farres Guell finished 12:31 off the pace, while Casey Currie scored his first podium finish of the rally. … Second in the class rankings, Sergei Kariakin finished in fourth.

Class Leaders: Guell holds an advantage of 13:31 over Kariakin and 32:36 over Varela

In quads, Nicolas Cavigliasso’s dominance continued with his fifth stage win. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli lost 17:19 and now trails by more than one hour. … Manuel Andujar scored his first podium of the rally.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of one hours, 6:49 over Ferioli and one hour, 30:36 over Gustavo Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov scored his first stage win of the season by 21:09 over Gerard de Rooy … Federico Villagra rounded out the top three. … … Eduard Nikolaev finished just off the podium in fourth, but maintained the class lead.

Class Leaders: Nikolaev holds an advantage of 10:13 over Sotnikov and 1 hour, 50:03 over De Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Matthias Walkner [1] (Stage 2), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4), Sam Sunderland [1] (Stage 5) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [5] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [3] (Stage 2, 5 and 6), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [1] (Stage 3)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [2] (Stage 2 and 6), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), 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), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4) and Dmitry Sotnikov [1] (Stage 6)

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

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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.”