Dakar Stage 6 Highlights: Sainz, Brabec extend leads

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The completion of the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally marks the halfway point of the event, and the competitors now head into a day of rest before stage seven begins on Sunday.

Here are some of today’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz continued to build on his advantage over Nasser Al-Attiyah, while Stephane Peterhansel won his second stage of the rally. Sainz and Al-Attiyah, finished second and third, 1:33 and 3:22 behind, respectfully.

Fernando Alonso ran within the top five for the majority of the stage, however, the two-time Formula One champion eventually fell short to Mathieu Serradori with 50 kilometers remaining and finished sixth overall.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 7:48 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Jose Ignacio Cornejo and Kevin Benavides showed speed early on, but overall leader Ricky Brabec took the lead just past the 200 km point and held on to won his second stage.

Brabec defeated Joan Barreda Bort by a margin of 1:34, while Matthias Walkner finished third, 2:45 behind. 

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 20:56 over Pablo Quintanilla.

In side by sides, Gerard Farres Guell finished first, but was assessed a two-minute penalty that bumped him him down to second in the rankings, 0:38 behind overall leader Francisco Lopez Contardo. Reinaldo Varela finished third, 3:37 back.

Overall: Francisco Lopez Contardo holds an advantage of 9:48 over Casey Currie.

In quads, Simon Viste dominated, winning by 3:25 over Ignacio Casale. Alexandre Giroud finished third, 3:36 behind.

Stage 3 winner Giovanni Enrico retired when his quad experienced mechanical issues 210 kilometers in, while Romain Dutu, who was fastest in the previous stage, crashed out early. 

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 38:14 over Simon Viste.

In trucks, overall leader Andrey Karginov extended his lead by nearly four and a half minutes by winning his second stage.

Karginov defeated Kamaz teammate Anton Shibalov by 4:21. Siarhei Viazovich finished third, 12:32 back.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 19:14 over Anton Shibalov.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [2] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3 and 5), [2] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 4 and 6), [1] Vaidotas Zala (Stage 1) and [1] Giniel De Villiers (Stage 2)

Bikes: [2] Toby Price (Stage 1 and 5), [2] Ricky Brabec (Stage 3 and 6), [1] Ross Branch (Stage 2) and [1] Jose Ingacio Cornejo (Stage 4)

Side-by-sides: [2] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3 and 6), [1]  Aron Domzala (Stage 1), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2), [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), [1] Romain Dutu (Stage 5) and [1] Simon Viste (Stage 6)

Trucks: [2] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1 and 4), [2] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3 and 6), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 6 will air on NBCSN tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Jan. 17.

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Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.