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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Serradori wins, Alonso second

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Monday’s stage of the Dakar Rally saw amateur driver Mathieu Serradori collect his first career victory, while fan-favorite Fernando Alonso finished second.

Only three of the five classes competed in the eighth stage of the event, as the motorbike and quad classes took the day off following the crash in Sunday’s stage 7 that lead to the death of motorbike rider Paulo Gonçalves. Both classes will return to action on Tuesday.

Here are some of Monday’s highlights:

In the cars class, Mathieu Serradori won his first stage, edging Fernando Alonso by 4:04.

Alonso’s second-place finish was his best yet in his rookie Dakar, and the two-time Formula One champion is now ranked 13th overall with four stages remaining.

Orlando Terranova finished the stage third-fastest, 6:19 behind, while Nasser Al-Attiyah finished 11th and narrowed his deficit to overall leader Carlos Sainz to just under seven minutes.

Sainz finished 15th overall, 19:15 behind Serradori.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 6:40 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In side by sides, Mitch Guthrie set the quickest time in the stage, having rejoined the race under the ‘Dakar Experience’ category. However, Guthrie was assessed a penalty, giving the victory to Reinaldo Varela.

Varela finished 0:22 ahead of Francisco Lopez Contardo, while Austin Jones finished third, 7:21 back.

Overall: Casey Currie holds an advantage of 15:40 over Francisco Lopez Contardo.

In trucks, Andrey Karginov continued to race toward his second career Dakar victory by clinching his third consecutive stage win.

Karginov defeated teammate Anton Shibalov by 5:54, and now leads him by nearly a half an hour in the overall standings.

Ales Loprais finished third, 9:06 behind.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 27:06 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), [1] Giniel De Villiers (Stage 2) and [1] Mathieu Serradori (Stage 8)

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] Mitch Guthrie (Stage 4),  [1] Cyril Despres (Stage 5), [1] Blade Hildebrand (Stage 7) and [1] Reinaldo Varela (Stage 8)

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: [4] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3, 6, 7 and 8), [2] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1 and 4), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 8 will air on NBCSN tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Friday.

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.