Dakar Stage 4 Highlights: Peterhansel wins while Sainz’s lead shrinks

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Stage 4 of the 2020 Dakar Rally Saw the most successful driver in race history collect his 77th stage win while the overall race leader saw his advantage over second place get cut in half.

Here are some of today’s highlights:

In the cars class, 13-time winner Stephane Peterhansel won his first stage in this year’s running, overcoming a flat tire and a wrong turn to hold off defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah by 2:26. The victory moved Peterhansel up to third place in the overall standings.

Al-Attiyah was able to shrink his deficit to overall leader Carlos Sainz to just over three minutes. Saniz finished the stage third overall, 7:18 behind Peterhansel.

Former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso finished 13th overall, 26:21 behind Peterhansel. Alonso is now ranked 20th in the overall standings, nearly three hours behind Sainz.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 3:03 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Jose Ignacio Cornejo was declared the winner of the stage after Sam Sunderland, who came in 0:11 ahead, was assessed a five-minute penalty for speeding. Sunderland dropped down to eighth following the penalty.

Ignacio Cornejo’s teammate Kevin Benavides finished second, while Ross Branch finished third.

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 2:30 over Kevin Benavides.

In side by sides, Dakar rookie Mitch Guthrie took his maiden stage victory, with Aron Domzala finishing 0:19 behind. Fellow American rookie Austin Jones finished third, 1:14 behind.

Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez finished fifth, and now leads the overall standings, jumping ahead of Francisco Lopez Contardo and Casey Currie. Lopez Contrado and Currie finished sixth and seventh, respectfully.

Overall: Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez holds an advantage of 3:01 over Francisco Lopez Contrado.

In quads, Ignacio Casale won once again, finishing ahead of Giovanni Enrico by 1:24. Simon Viste finished third, 3:22 behind.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 21:03 over Giovanni Enrico.

In trucks, Anton Shibalov won for the second time in the first four stages, finishing ahead of teammate Andrey Karginov by 2:41. Dmitry Sotnikov made it a Kamaz 1-2-3 by finishing 9:05 behind Shibalov.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 10:43 over Siarhei Viazovich.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [1] Vaidotas Zala (Stage 1), [1] Giniel De Villiers (Stage 2), [1] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3) and [1] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 4)

Bikes: [1] Toby Price (Stage 1), [1] Ross Branch (Stage 2), [1] Ricky Brabec (Stage 3) and [1] Jose Ingacio Cornejo (Stage 4)

Side-by-sides: [1]  Aron Domzala (Stage 1), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2), [1] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3), and [1] Mitchell Guthrie (Stage 4)

Quads: [3] Ignacio Casale (Stage 1, 2, and 4) and [1] Giovanni Enrico (Stage 3)

Trucks: [2] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1 and 4), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3)

Highlights of Stage 4 will air on NBCSN this evening at 6:00 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Jan. 17.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter 

NHRA: Alexis DeJoria reveals sponsorship for return to Funny Car

Photo courtesy ROKiT/Alexis DeJoria Racing
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Returning to NHRA Funny Car competition after a two-year hiatus, Alexis DeJoria has announced her new team will be sponsored by ABK Beer and ROKiT Phones for the full 24-race 2020 NHRA national event season.

ABK Beer is a 700-year-old Bavarian beer brand, while ROKiT further expands its reach in motorsports, also sponsoring the ROKiT Williams Racing Formula 1 team and the ROKiT Venturi Racing Formula E team.

Both brands have signed multi-year deals to sponsor DeJoria and her 11,000-horsepower Toyota Camry Funny Car. Also, in a unique twist, ROKiT smartphones will engage fans of DeJoria and NHRA with “innovative 3D content,” according to a media release.

“Joining Del Worsham’s newly-formed DC Motorsports team was just the first step in reigniting my quest at being the first female Funny Car world champion, and I’m thrilled that ROKiT is coming along for the ride,” DeJoria said in the media release. “I can’t wait to get back on the track and am energized and excited about all the things we have in store for the amazing NHRA fans.”

DeJoria will join a number of Top Fuel and Funny Car teams in Las Vegas for the annual preseason test-and-tune – otherwise known as “spring training” – on February 1 and 2.

This is the first time the test session will be held at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It has previously been held for at least the last two decades at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

The 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season opens the following weekend — February 6-9 — with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

DeJoria, who is married to reality TV star Jesse James, is particularly looking forward to returning to Pomona. It was there where she made drag racing history, becoming the first female to clock a sub-four second run (3.997 seconds) in the 2014 season opener.

Follow @JerryBonkowski