Dakar Rally Stage 1 features wins for Carlos Sainz, Toby Price

Dakar Rally Stage 9

Stage 1 of the 2021 Dakar Rally is in the books with Carlos Sainz winning in the car class and Toby Price taking the top spot in bikes in a route run from Jeddah to Bisha.

Here are some of Sunday’s highlights:

In the cars class, Carlos Sainz beat his X-Raid Mini JCW teammate Stephane Peterhansel in Stage 1 by the slim margin of 25 seconds. Most of the time he gave up came in the second half of the stage as Peterhansel charge.

But Peterhansel was not happy with the result and fears starting up front could actually be a deficit in Stage 2.

“We spent lots of time in the midst of the vegetation, with bushes, tight corners,” Peterhansel said. “We knew the bodywork would be in pretty poor shape by this evening, but when you want to be fast, you can’t drive too conservatively. Starting late benefitted us a lot, but things will be different tomorrow if we have to open the road.

“This wasn’t our strategy at all because we knew stage 2 will feature even more navigation. Yesterday we messed up, but we did well today. It’s one thing to have a plan and a different one to implement it. It would be better to start in fifth or sixth place tomorrow.”

Martin Prokop was pleased with his third-place finish, especially since he was beaten by two of the legends of Dakar. “Today was hard, both because of the navigation and because of the stones,” Prokop said. “There were loads of them. But the car is performing well and I think we did rather well. I don’t know if the result is going to change… but it ain’t half bad.”

Sebastien Loeb struggled in Stage 1 and gave up 24 minutes to the leaders.

Overall: Carlos Sainz holds an advantage of 00:25 over Stephane Peterhansel.

In bikes, Toby Price overcame a navigational error near the end of the stage, but was still able to beat Kevin Benavides by 00:31 in Stage 1.

Matthias Walkner was only one second slower in fourth.

It wasn’t a particularly good day for Americans. Skyler Howes was the highest-finishing U.S. rider in eighth, giving up a 05:25 advantage to Price. Andrew Short finished 12th and lost 08:50 to the leaders while Ricky Brabec lost 18:32 in 24th.

Pablo Quintanilla also was disappointed in his 20th-place finish. He lost 15:30 to the leader.

Erick Blandin was making his first Dakar start, but he retired after a nasty crash 127 miles into the stage.

Overall: Toby Price holds an advantage of 00:23 over Kevin Benavides.

SETTING THE LINEUP: Highlights from the Prologue stage

In side by sides, After Reinaldo Varela received a one minute penalty, Aron Domzala was awarded the win by 00:21 over Austin Jones.

Francisco Lopez Contardo finished third, 00:35 seconds back.

In lightweight vehicles, Cristina Gutierrez Herrero was able to edge Domzala and Jones by little over two minutes as this division is scored two ways. Also in a lightweight side-by-side, Seth Quintero finished 12th overall and third in class behind Herrero and Josef Machacek.

Overall: Aron Domzala holds an advantage of 00:15 over Austin Jones.

In quads, Alexandre Giroud waged war on the other quad drivers but won only 02:52 in Stage 1.

“The quad race was rather war-like today,” Giroud said. “It was a great stage! We got down to business. It was hard at the beginning because I was opening the road, so I got caught. You can see the dust trail of a quad from miles away. We then played cat and mouse for a bit.”

Giovanni Enrico finished second with an advantage of another two minutes over American Pablo Copetti.

Overall: Alexandre Giroud holds an advantage of 03:32 over Giovanni Enrico.

In trucks, Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov spent most of the stage engulfed in the dust of his competitors but he set a strong mark in the opener with a 07:35 advantage over Ales Loprais.

“It was a hard day for everybody,” Sotnikov said. “All day long in the dust. It was a nightmare because we drove among the cars and the bikes.”

And Loprai agreed, saying “It was quite hard for an opening stage. There were loads of rocks and dust. It was hard to make our way among the buggies and overtake them, but in the end we finished in a good position.”

Sotnikov’s countryman Anton Shibalov finished only a few seconds behind Loprais in third.

It was a tough start for last year’s winner Andrey Karginov. His Kamaz suffered a mechanical difficulty that cost him more than an hour.

Overall: Dmitry Sotnikov holds an advantage of 07:35 over Ales Loprai.

Stage Wins:

Cars: [1] Carlos Sainz (Stage 1)

Bikes: [1] Toby Price (Stage 1)

Side-by-sides: [1] Renaldo Varela (Stage 1)

Quads: [1] Alexandre Giroud (Stage 1)

Trucks: [1] Dmitry Sotnikov (Stage 1)

Highlights from Stage 1 of the Dakar Rally can be seen on NBCSN at 7:30 ET.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports