Dakar Stage 3 Highlights: Sainz takes overall lead as Alonso gets top 5

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The third stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw Carlos Sainz Sr take the overall race lead while Fernando Alonso had his best stage result so far.

Here are some of today’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz took the overall race lead when he won the third stage by a margin of 4:19 over Jakub Przygonski. Though defending race champion Nasser Al-Attiyah initially finished the stage 3:31 behind Sainz in the second position, he was assessed a three minute penalty. The penalty dropped Al-Attiyah to fifth overall. 

Yasir Seaidan finished the stage in the third position, 5:28 behind, while Fernando Alonso finished in the fourth position, 6:14 off of Sainz’s pace. 

Tuesday’s fourth-place finish has been the best so far for the two-time Formula One World Champion, who finished a disappointing 63rd in the second stage after his car sustained damage when it hit a rock.

Alonso now is ranked 32nd in the overall standings.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 7:55 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Ricky Brabec crossed all six checkpoints as the fastest rider to win by 5:56 over Jose Ingacio Cornejo. Kevin Benavides finished third, 7:22 behind, while Stage 2 winner Toby Price finished fifth. 

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 4:43 over Kevin Benavides.

In side by sides, Gerrard Farres Guell won by 0:15 over Sergei Kariakin. Meanwhile, American Casey Currie finished third, 1:37 behind. Currie’s third consecutive top 5 finish was enough for him to take the lead over Francisco Lopez Contardo in the overall standings. 

Overall: Casey Currie holds an advantage of 0:15 over Francisco Lopez Contardo.

In quads, Giovanni Enrico won by 1:01 over Simon Viste, while Ignacio Casale finished third, 3:29 behind. Despite being denied his third straight stage win, Casale added more than five minutes to his overall advantage over Rafal Sonik.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 14:29 over Rafal Sonik.

In trucks, Andrey Karginov won by 4:54 over Stage 2 winner Siarhei Viazovich. Stage 1 winner Anton Shibalov finished third, 11:13 behind. 

Overall: Siarhei Viazovich holds an advantage of 2:18 over Andrey Karginov.

Stage Wins

Cars: [1] Vaidotas Zala (Stage 1), [1] Giniel De Villiers (Stage 2) and [1] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3)

Bikes: [1] Toby Price (Stage 1), [1] Ross Branch (Stage 2) and [1] Ricky Brabec (Stage 3)

Side-by-sides: [1]  Aron Domzala (Stage 1), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2) and [1] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3)

Quads: [2] Ignacio Casale (Stage 1 and Stage 2) and Giovanni Enrico (Stage 3)

Trucks: [1] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and Andrey Karginov (Stage 3)

Highlights of Stage Three will air on NBCSN this evening at 6:00 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Jan. 17.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter 

Lucas Oil Late Models, All Star Sprints postpone April events

Lucas Oil Dirt
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In separate press releases, the Lucas Oil Late Model series and the All Star Circuit of Champions announced the postponement of their April schedules.

Both releases cite extended federal social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the postponements and cancelations.

For the Lucas Oil Late Model series, the extension affects races at Hagerstown Speedway (originally scheduled for April 18), Port Royal Speedway (April 19), Tri-City Speedway (April 24), and Macon Speedway (April 25). The series hopes to resume the original schedule on May 1st at Ponderosa Speedway and May 2nd at Florence Speedway.

Port Royal Speedway’s Rumble by the River, originally scheduled for April 19th, has been postponed until Thursday, August 27th.

The Nininger Tribute at Hagerstown Speedway, scheduled for April 18th, has now been canceled. Also canceled are the Budweiser 50 at Tri-City Speedway scheduled for April 24th and the April 25th event at Macon Speedway.

At this time, races are set to resume on May 1 at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky. Backup dates have been announced for Ponderosa (September 4) and Florence Speedway (August 12) should they be needed.

The events affected for the All Star Circuit of Champions include Attica Raceway Park’s Spring Nationals (April 10-11), Thursday Night Thunder at Virginia Motor Speedway (April 16), the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway (April 17), the Keith Kauffman Classic at Port Royal Speedway (April 18), the Johnny Grum Classic at Bedford Speedway (April 19) and the season’s first visit to Wayne County Speedway (April 25).

Series and track officials are working together to find suitable make-up dates.

“We are all in the same boat with every other sanctioning body and sports league in America right now and we want to be part of the solution and abide by state orders and federal guidelines,” said Tony Stewart, owner of the All Stars in a press release. “Originally, we were going to take a week-to-week approach, but with the stay at home orders in certain states and social distancing guidelines, it made sense to postpone the month of April. We aren’t going to put anyone on the road and at risk until we are given the green light by state and federal officials. Thank you to the tracks for the open lines of communication over the past few weeks. We hope to reschedule as many dates as possible once we are able to return to racing.”

Conditions permitting, the All Star Circuit of Champions will begin their 2020 championship point season on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, with visits to Lernerville Speedway and Sharon Speedway, respectively.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter