Dakar Stage 10 Highlights: Sainz extends lead; Alonso rolls twice but continues on

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Heavy wind gusts may have shortened the Haradh – Shubaytah stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally, but there still was plenty of action, including a wild double rollover by Fernando Alonso.

Here are some of Wednesday’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz was able to rebuild his commanding lead over Nasser Al-Attiyah, which was shortened to a mere 0:24 at the end of Tuesday’s Stage 9.

Al-Attiyah became lost when trying to find the final checkpoint, surrendering nearly 15 minutes. The defending Dakar champion finished the stage in 17th place.

Jakub Przygonski ended the shortened stage second-fastest, 3:05 behind, while Giniel De Villers finished third, 4:26 back.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso finished a disappointing 56th after suffering a double rollover just two kilometers into the stage.

Though not injured in the rollover, Alonso lost a significant amount of time as he and co-driver Marc Coma removed the windscreen from their Toyota.

The duo rolled across the finish line over an hour behind Sainz, and now have dropped from 10th to 14th in the overall standings.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 18:10 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Joan Barreda Bort was gifted with the victory when the stage ended prematurely at the 345 km mark due to heavy winds.  Meanwhile, overall leader Ricky Brabec finished the stage in second position, 1:07 back, while Kevin Benavides finished third, 2:31 back.

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 25:44 over Pablo Quintanilla.

In side by sides, Mitch Guthrie and Blade Hildebrand finished 1-2 for the second consecutive stage, with Hildebrand coming in 0:25 behind Guthrie. Stage 3 and 6 winner Gerard Farres Guell completed the podium in third, 1:22 back.

Casey Currie came home in seventh position, but continued to build a considerable lead in the overall standings. However, defending champion Francisco Lopez Contardo dropped from second to third overall when he suffered tire puncture that saw him lose over an hour’s time.

Overall: Casey Currie holds an advantage of 46:40 over Sergei Kariakin.

In quads, Kamil Wisinewski topped the charts, finishing 0:48 ahead of Zdenek Tuma, while Rafal Sonik finished 3:42 behind in third.

Overall leader Ignacio Casale had a disappointing day, finishing 16th out of 18 competitors. As a result, his lead over second place shrank by over 25 minutes.

Fortunately for Casale, second-place Simon Viste had a bad day as well, as the Frenchman finished 12th.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 16:18 over Simon Viste.

In trucks, Anton Shibalov ended Kamaz teammate Andrey Karginov’s streak of four consecutive stage wins, outpacing Dmitry Sotnikov by 1:08 to the 223 km checkpoint.

However, Shibalov’s efforts were only enough to erase approximately two minutes from Karginov’s considerable lead in the overall standings.

Eduard Nikolaev finished third, 1:30 back.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 36:08 over Anton Shibalov.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [4] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3, 5, 7 and 10), [3] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 4, 6 and 9), [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), [1] Kevin Benavides (Stage 7), [1] Pablo Quintanilla (Stage 9) and [1] Joan Barreda Bort (Stage 10)

Side-by-sides: [2] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3 and 6), [2] Blade Hildebrand (Stage 7 and 9), [2] Mitch Guthrie (Stage 4 and 10), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2), [1]  Aron Domzala (Stage 1), [1] Cyril Despres (Stage 5) and [1] Reinaldo Varela (Stage 8)

Quads: [4] Ignacio Casale (Stage 1, 2, 4 and 9), [2] Simon Viste (Stage 6 and 7), [1] Giovanni Enrico (Stage 3), [1] Romain Dutu (Stage 5) and [1] Kamil Wisinewski (Stage 10)

Trucks: [5] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9), [3] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1, 4 and 10), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 10 will air on NBCSN tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET.  The rally runs through Friday.

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.