Dakar Stage 7 Highlights: Sainz extends overall lead, racers mourn death of one of their own

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Sunday’s stage 7 of the Dakar Rally was marred by the death of motorbike rider Paulo Gonçalves, who fell and suffered cardiac arrest roughly halfway through the stage. 

Riders Kevin Benavides and Toby Price stopped to assist Gonçalves, and a medical helicopter arrived at the scene within eight minutes, according to the event organizer’s website. Gonçalves was then airlifted to a hospital and subsequently pronounced dead.

Gonçalves was competing in his 13th Dakar. He was runner-up in 2015.

After a meeting with riders, Dakar officials made the decision to cancel Monday’s stage 8 for the motorbikes and quad classes in order to allow competitors to mourn the loss of their competitor and friend.

 

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Here are some of Sunday’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz collected his third win to extend his advantage over Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall standings. 

Al-Attiyah and local driver Yasir Seaidan set the pace early on in the stage, but Sainz jumped ahead roughly halfway through and ended up beating Al-Attiyah by 2:12. Stephane Peterhansel finished third, 2:53 behind. 

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso finished sixth, finishing 7:49 behind Sainz. Alonso is now ranked 15th overall.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 10:00 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Kevin Benavides was awarded the victory after stopping to assist Paulo Gonçalves following the rider’s fatal crash.  

Joining Benavides were several other riders, including Toby Price and Stefan Svitko, all of whom were awarded time by race organizers for their efforts.

Following the time adjustments, Benavides won by 1:23 over Joan Barreda Bort. Matthias Walkner finished third, 4:17 behind. 

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 24:48 over Pablo Quintanilla.

In side by sides, Blade Hildebrand, who was competing under the ‘Dakar Experience’ rule due to a retirement in stage 2, defeated fellow American Casey Currie by a comfortable margin of 11:15. Stage 1 winner Aron Domzala finished third, 13:16 back. 

Overall: Casey Currie holds an advantage of 32:03 over Francisco Lopez Contardo.

In quads, Simon Viste picked up his second consecutive victory, beating Giovanni Enrico by a 0:11. Overall leader Ignacio Casale was third-fastest, finishing 1:31 behind.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 36:43 over Simon Viste. 

In trucks, Andrey Karginov continued to dominate, narrowly edging out teammate Dmitry Sotnikov by 0:03 to claim his second consecutive stage victory and third overall. Anton Shibalov finished third, 2:05 back.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 21:12 over Anton Shibalov.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [3] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3, 5, and 7), [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), [1] Jose Ingacio Cornejo (Stage 4) and [1] Kevin Benavides (Stage 7)

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),  [1] Cyril Despres (Stage 5) and [1] Blade Hildebrand (Stage 7)

Quads: [3] Ignacio Casale (Stage 1, 2, and 4), [2] Simon Viste (Stage 6 and 7), [1] Giovanni Enrico (Stage 3) and [1] Romain Dutu (Stage 5)

Trucks: [3] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3, 6, and 7), [2] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1 and 4), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 7 will air on NBCSN tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Jan. 17.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.