Dakar Stage 11 Highlights: Sainz, Brabec on-track to win with 1 stage remaining

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With the penultimate stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally now complete, Carlos Sainz is now poised to collect his third career victory in the prestigious event.

Meanwhile, Americans Ricky Brabec and Casey Currie are on-track to overall victories in the motorbike and side-by-side classes, respectively.

Here are some of Thursday’s highlights:

In the cars class, Stephane Peterhansel set the pace, narrowly defeating Nasser Al-Attiyah by 0:10 to win his fourth stage win of the 2020 edition of the rally.

Carlos Sainz finished 8:03 behind, placing him third overall. Sainz now holds a ten-minute lead heading into the Friday’s final stage. Should he maintain his lead through the finish, he will win the rally for the third time in his career.

Dakar rookie Fernando Alonso completed the stage eighth-fastest, 16:25 behind Sainz. Alonso is now ranked 13th in the overall class standings.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 10:17 over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In bikes, Pablo Quintanilla sliced Ricky Brabec’s overall lead in half with his second stage win, narrowly defeating Matthias Walkner by 0:09. Luciano Benavides finished third, 2:48 back.

Overall: Ricky Brabec holds an advantage of 13:56 over Pablo Quintanilla.

In side by sides, defending class champion Francisco Lopez Contardo won his second stage of the 2020 event, defeating Aron Domzala by 10:53. Conrad Rautenbach finished third, 12:36 behind.

American Casey Currie is one stage away from winning his first Dakar, holding a 45-minute advantage over Sergei Kariakin despite not winning a single stage.

Overall: Casey Currie holds an advantage of 45:33 over Sergei Kariakin.

In quads, 2015 class champion Rafal Sonik picked up his first stage win of the 2020 running, outpacing overall leader Ignacio Casale by 3:16. Stage 3 winner Giovanni Enrico came home 4:19 behind to finish third.

Overall: Ignacio Casale holds an advantage of 21:16 over Simon Viste.

In trucks, Andrey Karginov is on track to win the rally for the second time in his career, defeating Kamaz teammate Dmitry Sotnikov by 1:27 to win his sixth stage of the 2020 edition.

Karginov now leads Anton Shibalov by nearly 40 minutes in the overall standings with one stage remaining.

Shibalov finished third overall in Thursday’s stage, 3:25 behind.

Overall: Andrey Karginov holds an advantage of 39:33 over Anton Shibalov.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [4] Carlos Sainz (Stage 3, 5, 7 and 10), [4] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 4, 6,9 and 11), [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), [2] Pablo Quintanilla (Stage 9 and 11), [1] Ross Branch (Stage 2), [1] Jose Ingacio Cornejo (Stage 4), [1] Kevin Benavides (Stage 7) 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), [2] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2 and 11), [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), [1] Kamil Wisinewski (Stage 10) and [1] Rafal Sonik (Stage 11)

Trucks: [6] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11), [3] Anton Shibalov (Stage 1, 4 and 10), [1] Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 2) and [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 5)

Highlights of Stage 11 will air on NBCSN tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET.  The 12th and final stage takes place on Friday.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar
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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter