Dakar Stage 7 Highlights: Casey Currie climbs in side-by-sides

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Stage 7 of the Dakar Rally was made up of hard-pack that favored speed setups and fesh-fesh (fine, loose sand) that gave the handling racers an advantage.  In the end, familiar names topped the leaderboard with both Stephane Peterhansal and Sam Sunderland taking their second stage wins in cars and motorcycles respectively.

American Casey Currie is climbing through the class rankings. Standing 14th at the end of Stage 2, he improved to seventh by Stage 5, sixth at Stage 6 and moved up one more spot to fifth. He is slowly catching the leaders while battling setbacks such as the suspension damage incurred on Stage 7.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Stephane Peterhansel took a hard landing after jumping a dune and suffered whiplash, but that was not enough to slow him. He beat Nani Roma by four minutes and is slowly closing the gap on Nasser Al-Attiyah, who finished nearly 12 minutes back in fourth. … Wedged between, Carlos Sainz rounded out the top three. … Robby Gordon and Blade Hildebrand continue to soldier on, but well off the pace. Gordon is currently more than 60 hours behind the class leader; Hildebrand is 27 hours behind. Both drivers lost more than four hours during Stage 7.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 29:16 over Peterhansel and 37:59 over Roma

In motorcycles, Sam Sunderland became the first motorcycle rider in the 2019 rally to win two stages. His rollercoaster ride has also contributed to two stages in which he finished sixth and 12th. … For Jose Florimo it may be a case of too little, too late. He sits 12th in the class rankings, but has finished second in two of the last three stages. … Ricky Brabec retook the class lead with his third-place finish. … Adrien van Beveren has been steady and fast with six of his seven stages ending either fourth or fifth; in Stage 7, he was fourth. … Toby Price has also developed a tendency to finish well or poorly. Since Stage 2, he has alternated results of third or fourth with those of eighth or ninth.

Class Leaders: Brabec holds an advantage of 7:47 over van Beveren and 8:28 over Price

In side by sides Francisco Lopez Contardo grabbed his second consecutive stage win and third overall to climb to second in the class standings. … Reinaldo Varela retook the class lead with his second-place finish. … Rodrigo Piazzoli rounded out the top three. … American Casey Currie climbed to fifth in class after finishing ninth in the stage. … Sergey Kariakin barrel-rolled his side by side and broke his running gear, but was able to finish the stage five hours off the pace. His title hopes are practically over after starting the morning second in class.

Class Leaders: Varela hold an advantage of 4:03 over Contardo and 45:26 over Piazolli

In quads, With his sixth stage win of the rally, Nicolas Cavigliasso extended his lead over the field to more than an hour and 15 minutes. … Alexandre Giroud earned his best stage finish of the year with a second; he finished third in Stage 2 and 4. … Manuel Andujar scored his second consecutive podium with back-to-back third-place finishes. … Gustavo Gallego finished just off the podium in fourth … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli lost 8:47 to the class leader with his fifth-place finish.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 15:36 over Ferioli and one hour, 38:39 over Gallego

In trucks, Gerard de Rooy was originally listed as the winner of Stage 6, but officials elevated Dmitry Sotnikov overnight – making de Rooy wait a day to score his first stage win of the rally. … Siarhei Viazovich finished 30:55 back in second with Eduard Nikolaev rounding out the top three. … Sotnikov finished sixth on the stage and lost nearly an hour to class leader Nikolaev.

Class Leaders: Nikolaev holds and advantage of 32:54 over Sotnikov and one hour, 15:28 over de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Matthias Walkner [1] (Stage 2), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [6] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7) 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 [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [3] (Stage 2, 6 and 7), 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), Dmitry Sotnikov [1] (Stage 6) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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