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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Lucas Oil Late Models, All Star Sprints postpone April events

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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