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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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)