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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III