Dakar Stage 5 Highlights: Sainz extends lead with second win

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The fifth stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw the overall leader extend his advantage over second place, while two of the other class winners had returned to competition thanks in part to the new ‘Dakar Experience’ rule.

Here are some of today’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz became the first repeat stage winner, doubling his advantage over defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah to nearly six minutes.

Al-Attiyah finished second, 2:56 behind, while Stage 4 winner Stephane Peterhansel finished third, 6:11 behind. 

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso scored his second top 10 finish of his first Dakar, coming home in the seventh position, 12:23 behind Sainz. Alonso now trails Sainz by over three hours overall.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 5:59 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Toby Price became the first driver to collect multiple stage victories, winning by 1:12 over Pablo Quintanilla.

Andrew Short finished in the third position with a deficit of 2:31, while fellow American Ricky Brabec finished in the fourth position, 3:03 behind.  

Sam Sunderland, who finished first in Stage 4 before being assessed a speeding penalty that dropped him down to eighth, withdrew from the race following a heavy crash in which he injured his back and shoulder.

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 9:06 over Toby Price.

In side by sides, five-time bikes champion Cyril Despres took his first victory, defeating Aron Domzala by 0:41. However, because Despres was unable to complete Stage 4, he was not included in the overall classification.

Despres was able to return to action thanks in part to the new ‘Dakar Experience’ rule, which allows competitors one additional attempt to complete all stages of the race without being eligible for classification.

Conrad Rautenbach finished third, 4:14 behind.

Overall: Sergei Kariakin holds an advantage of 1:10 over Casey Currie. 

In quads, rookie Romain Dutu set the pace, finishing 0:47 over Alexandre Giroud.

However, because Dutu is racing in the Dakar Experience class following a retirement in Stage 3, he was excluded from the official results. 

Therefore, Giroud celebrated the stage win, while Ignacio Casale finished second, 1:29 behind. Giovanni Enrico finished third, 10:35 back.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 31:37 over Giovanni Enrico.

In trucks, Kamaz driver Dmitry Sotnikov won his first stage, defeating teammates Anton Shibalov and Andrey Karginov by 3:06, and 3:15, respectfully. 

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 14:53 over Anton Shibalov.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [2] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3 and 5), [1] Vaidotas Zala (Stage 1), [1] Giniel De Villiers (Stage 2), and [1] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 4)

Bikes: [2] Toby Price (Stage 1 and 5), [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), [1] Mitchell Guthrie (Stage 4) and [1] Cyril Despres (Stage 5)

Quads: [3] Ignacio Casale (Stage 1, 2, and 4), [1] Giovanni Enrico (Stage 3), and [1] Romain Dutu (Stage 5)

Trucks: [2] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1 and 4), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2), Andrey Karginov (Stage 3) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 5 will air on NBCSN this evening at 6:00 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Jan. 17.

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Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.