Dakar Rally, Stage 6: Toby Price retakes lead in bikes; Stephane Peterhansel first in cars

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Two-time winner Toby Price retook the lead in bikes as the 2021 Dakar Rally reached its halfway point Friday after Stage 6 of 12.

Record seven-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel remained the overall leader in cars as defending champion Carlos Sainz won his second stage.

Price, who opened with a Stage 1 victory but fell more than 17 minutes behind after a 28th in the second stage, finished seventh in the sixth stage, which he said had “crazy” pace.

The Australian became the first repeat overall leader after a stage in bikes. Riders Joan Barreda, Skyler Howes, Xavier de Soultrait and Kevin Benavides had led after each of the previous four stages.

HOW TO WATCH ON NBCSN: Information, schedules for the Dakar Rally

“It’s been a mixed bag of everything really, so it’s been up and down everywhere,” said Price, who won Dakar in 2016 and ’19. “But all in all, we’re still in the fight. We’re still there in the race, so anything can happen. There’s a long way to go, and we’re looking forward to Week 2 already.”

Barreda won Stage 6 over Ross Branch and Daniel Sanders. Defending bikes champion Ricky Brabec finished fourth and improved to 13th overall, just under 20 minutes behind Price. “Not where we wanted to be, but we do have 6 days left, so let’s hope to stay focused,” Brabec posted on Instagram.

Howes, an American privateer, was ninth overall and trailed by just over 15 minutes after a 19th in the stage Friday. “I actually had a pretty decent day,” Howes posted. “The pace is so high this rally, it’s crazy. Everyone is racing like it’s the last day, so it’s hard work to keep pushing every inch.”

Friday’s sixth stage was delayed 90 minutes to be shortened by 100 km (62.13 miles) by rally organizers after feedback from the Stage 5 route.

Saturday will be a rest day for the 2021 Dakar Rally, which will resume Sunday with Stage 7 and more than 3,600 kilometers still remaining over the last six stages.

In other divisions Friday:

Cars: Sainz scored his first stage victory since the opener, but the three-time Dakar winner remained more than 40 minutes in third overall behind Peterhansel, who finished fourth in Stage 6.

With a third place Friday, Nasser Al-Attiyah cut Peterhanel’s lead to just under 6 minutes overall.

After running in the top 10 through the first five stages, champion rally legend Sebastien Loeb lost major time because of a broken rear suspension. He was forced to wait for a replacement without a spare on hand. “It happened on a portion with bumps,” Loeb said. “That’s the way it is when you push hard. But the race is over now.”

Side by sides/lightweight/light prototypes: Khalifa Al Attiyah won his first stage in side by sides this year. Rounding out the podium were Gerard Farres Guell and American Austin Jones, who trails Aron Domzala by 40 seconds in the overall.

American Seth Quintero won his fourth stage in the light prototype division and leads teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero by nearly 2 hours. Quintero also won the stage in lightweights, trailing by 8 minutes, 26 seconds in the overall for that class.

“Today went absolutely amazing,” Quintero, 18, said in a release. “We moved up one position in the general rankings and, instead of 28 minutes off the lead, we’re now only 8 minutes away. It feels amazing to be the youngest ever Dakar stage winner.”

Quads: Alexandre Giroud won his second stage, but third-place finisher Nicolas Cavigliasso maintained a comfortable lead of 33 minutes, 18 seconds over Manuel Andujar, who was fourth Friday.

Trucks: Leading a podium sweep for the Kamaz-Master team, Airat Mardeev scored his first victory of the 2021 Dakar Rally. Teammate Dmitry Sotnikov was second and held an overall lead of 37 minutes, 34 seconds.


STAGE 1 RESULTSCarlos Sainz, Toby Price open with victories

STAGE 2Ricky Brabec jumps to second; Andrew Short withdraws

STAGE 3American privateer Skyler Howes takes lead

STAGE 4Four Stages, four bike winners; Al-Attiyah wins three consecutive in cars

STAGE 5: Kevin Benavides new leader in bikes

STAGE WINS

Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah 3 (Stages 2, 3, 4); Carlos Sainz 2 (Stage 1, 6); Giniel de Villiers (Stage 5)

Bikes: Joan Barreda 3 (Stage 2, 4, 6); Toby Price 2 (Stages 1, 3); Kevin Benavides (Stage 5)

Side-by-sides: Francisco Lopez Contardo 2 (Stage 3, 5); Austin Jones (Stage 1); Saleh Alsaif (Stage 2); Aron Domzala (Stage 4); Khalifa Al Attiyah (Stage 6)

Lightweight prototypes: Seth Quintero 4 (Stage 2, 3, 5, 6); Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (Stage 1); Kris Meeke (Stage 4)

Quads: Nicolas Cavigliasso 2 (Stage 3, 5); Alexandre Giroud 2 (Stage 1, 6); Pablo Copetti (Stage 2); Manuel Andujar (Stage 4)

Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov 3 (Stage 1, 2, 4); Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 3); Andrey Karginov (Stage 5); Airat Mardeev (Stage 6)

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

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)