Dakar Rally, Stage 3: Skyler Howes takes lead as Price rebounds; Ricky Brabec struggles


Toby Price bounced back after a rough stage the day previous, Ricky Brabec lost 21 minutes in Stage 3, and Skyler Howes, an American privateer, took the overall lead after three days racing the Dakar Rally.

Price won by completing the stage in three hours, 33 minutes, a little more than one minute ahead of stage runner-up Kevin Benavides.

“So far, it’s been up and down,” Price, a two-time Dakar Rally winner, said after his second stage victory of 2021. “It’s quite frustrating to be in front one day and then at the back the next. The difficulty of the navigation means it’s hard to open the road.

“I’m going to have to do it tomorrow, but I hope there’ll be a bit of respite and that it will be a day that’s less complicated on the navigational front. The result doesn’t mean much, because there are ups and downs. … The bike’s working well, I didn’t fall and I didn’t have any fuel problems like yesterday. Every day is going to count right up until the last one, but so far there have been no major problems.”

Howes, who finished fourth Tuesday, has been a story of consistency and avoiding mistakes in taking the lead through three of 12 stages.

He is in first by 33 seconds over Benavides. Price is fourth, nearly two minutes behind the leader.

“Overall P-1,” Howes wrote in an Instagram post. “Found the flow early on in the dunes and when things opened up I felt right at home. The sandy tracks through the canyons and the rocky passes were really fun and I was just having a good time! Caught up to a handful of guys in front of me and had an all out battle to the finish!

“Honestly, I’m just having a lot of fun and I’m feeling comfortable on the bike. I’ll take every day as it comes and tackle each challenge as best as I can. After all, just a dude from Utah riding a dirt bike in Saudi Arabia, gotta have fun with it!”


Being first on course has not been kind so far in a competition where stage finishing positions set the starting position for the next day.

After winning Stage 1, Price experienced trouble Monday while blazing the trail. After finishing second Monday, Brabec, last year’s winner, dropped Tuesday from second to 13th overall, 12 minutes back, after finishing 25th in Stage 3.

He agreed about the difficulty of being up front after rolling out of the bivouc second.

“Another fast day up front with the boys,” Brabec posted on Instagram after finishing the stage 21 minutes, 39 seconds behind Price. “This week has been one for the books, a wild one so far with the rubber band effect going on between all competitors.”

Stage 2 winner Joan Barreda lost time early and finished 30th in Stage 3. He is ranked eighth overall, 9 minutes behind Howes.

In other divisions Tuesday:

Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah made it two stage victories in a row in the 2021 Dakar Rally, winning Stage 3 by a margin of a little more than 2 minutes over teammate Henk Lategan.

“I’m quite happy,” Al-Attiyah said. “Today we really pushed a lot, and Matthieu (Baumel) did the navigation well. Everything is working very well like we need it to. I’m really quite happy with the pace, because to open and to win the stage is good, you know?

“I think there was one point where it was very, very difficult navigation, and I think most of the drivers got lost there.”

Sebastien Loeb continued his rebound from a dismal first stage. He has finished sixth in consecutive stages and advanced one spot for sixth overall. He still has nearly 46 minutes to make up on overall leader Stephane Peterhansel, who hold a 5-minute advantage over Al-Attiyah in the overall.

Side by sides/lightweight vehicles: Francisco Lopez Contardo narrowly beat American Austin Jones in Stage 3 by 23 seconds.

Seth Quintero was the highest-finishing lightweights driver, finishing 1 minute, 40 seconds behind Contardo.

Contardo holds a 6-minute advantage over Aron Domzala. Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, who won the opening stage to become the first woman to win a Dakar stage in 15 years, holds the lead in lightweights and is scored fourth overall in side-by-sides. Quintero is seventh overall and second among the lightweights.

Quads: Nicolas Cavigliasso won Stage 3 and shaved a minute off Giovanni Enrico’s overall lead. Enrico holds an advantage of just over 4 minutes on Alexandre Giroud and 6 minutes, 41 seconds over Cavigliasso.

Trucks: Siarhei Viazovich took his first stage victory Tuesday, reversing the table on Dmitry Sotnikov who won the first two stages. Sotnikov retains the overall lead over Viazovich by nearly 17 minutes.

STAGE 1 RESULTS: Carlos Sainz, Toby Price open with victories

STAGE 2: Ricky Brabec jumps to second; Andrew Short withdraws

Stage Wins:

Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah 2 (Stage 2, Stage 3); Carlos Sainz (Stage 1),

Bikes: Toby Price 2 (Stage 1, Stage 3); Joan Barreda (Stage 2)

Side-by-sides: Austin Jones (Stage 1); Saleh Alsaif (Stage 2); Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 3)

Lightweight vehicles: Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (Stage 1); Saleh Alsaif (Stage 2); Seth Quintero (Stage 3)

Quads: Alexandre Giroud (Stage 1); Pablo Copetti (Stage 2); Nicolas Cavigliasso (Stage 3)

Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov 2 (Stage 1, Stage 2); Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 3)

Watch highlights from Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET today.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”