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DAKAR RALLY

Major moves are made on Stage 10 of the 2017 Dakar Rally

Eduard Nikolaev was one of the big winners on Stage 10 © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

It was back to business with a bang today as the 2017 Dakar Rally recommenced on the route between Chilecito and San Juan in Argentina. With the finish line now within touching distance there was no let up in pace at the front of the race during the 449km timed special stage run amid temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius.

Looking to recapture the truck race title he won in 2013 is Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) of Team Kamaz Master. The Russian trucker did his chances of success the power of good on Stage 10 as he set the day’s fastest time. The result sees Nikolaev leapfrog his Kamaz team-mate Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) who finished second on today’s stage and now holds the runners-up spot in the general classification. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) came home third on the stage to give Kamaz a richly deserved 1-2-3 result.

1-2-3 results have been common place for Team Peugeot Total during this edition of motorsport’s toughest test of endurance. Peugeot’s latest clean sweep saw Sébastien Loeb (FRA) take the stage’s scratch time with team-mates Cyril Despres (FRA) and Stéphane Perterhansel (FRA) following him home.

With two stages remaining Loeb leads the car race although this result is subject to change this evening once Peterhansel is given back the time he spent assisting injured Slovenian biker Simon Marčič on Stage Ten. The closest challenger to third place Despres is Nani Roma (ESP) who lies nearly an hour behind the former biker in fourth overall.

Over on the bikes there was another assured performance by Sam Sunderland (GBR) who continues to break new ground while leading the race. Red Bull KTM Factory Team’s British biker got his tactics spot on to maintain a lead of 30 minutes at the head of the race. Sunderland’s KTM team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) can also be pleased with his day’s work as he climbed onto the overall podium to hold second place overnight.

In the quad race Ignacio Casale (CHL) continues to take the fight to category leader Sergey Karyakin (RUS). It was the Russian setting the pace today, but Casale hung on to eventually concede a little more than 10 minutes to his rival. There’s now 21m05s separating runner-up Casale and race leader Karyakin.

Tomorrow brings with it the penultimate stage as the Dakar departs San Juan for Rio Cuarto. With close to 300km to be raced over a mixture of dunes and fast WRC-style tracks. Racers will be faced with the tactical decision of holding the positions they’ve all worked so hard for or risking it all for a leap up the rankings.

DAKAR RALLY

Stéphane Peterhansel puts the hammer down on the dunes © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Dakar gets back to business with a bang on epic marathon stage

The midpoint Rest Day of the 2017 Dakar Rally is already a distant memory as racers are left fending for themselves on the fringes of the world’s largest salt flat in Uyuni, Bolivia. Stage Seven is the first half of this year’s marathon stage so every competitor still in the race spends tonight separated from their mechanics and any work needed on their machines must be performed solo.

Adding to the increased difficulty that comes with a marathon stage have been the “extreme climatic conditions” we have been experiencing in Bolivia. Heavy downpours of rain have played havoc with the course and a redesigned Stage Seven gave us a timed special stage of 161km over mostly sandy terrain. Taking a vantage point of the action today was windsurfing legend Robby Naish who after touring the Rest Day bivouac got to see those same machines unleashed over open country.

Naish had a firsthand look at one of the day’s most impressive performances as Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) upped his lead in the car category with a stage win. The 12-time Dakar champion increased his advantage over fellow Team Peugeot Total driver Sébastien Loeb (FRA) by 48 seconds with the difference between the two Frenchman in first and second overall now standing at a tantalising 1m57s.

Cyril Despres (FRA), the third PEUGEOT 3008 DKR driver, slips back to fourth overall after conceding nine minutes to Peterhansel on Stage Seven. Meanwhile, there was something to celebrate for Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) of Toyota Gazoo Racing who secured a podium finish on today’s stage behind Despres’ two Peugeot team-mates.

The bikes were first to tackle today’s route and opening the road was Sam Sunderland (GBR) of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team. Despite a navigation hiccup 38 kilometres into the special the race leader was able to recover and maintains his position at the top of the general classification overnight. Sunderland’s team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) is also in with a shout of a podium finish with the Austrian biker in fifth place overall. Considering neither rider has ever completed an entire Dakar Rally their achievements to date have been mightily impressive.

Elsewhere in the race, local crowds were on their feet to cheer Bolivian biker Walter Nosiglia Jager who secured a Top 10 finish on the stage in his homeland.

A podium finish on today’s quad stage has kept Ignacio Casale (CHL) in contact with race leader Sergey Karyakin (RUS). Thanks to Casale arriving in Uyuni as the third quickest quad biker he now stands 16 minutes behind Karyakin who will open the road tomorrow.

An already shortened stage was reduced by a further 20km for the truck class due to the final part of the track proving impassable even for the Dakar’s biggest beasts. Defending champion Gerard De Rooy (NLD) once again reacted well to the Team Kamaz Master trio of Eduard Nikolaev (RUS), Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) and Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) breathing down his neck. De Rooy keeps his overall lead despite Sotnikov’s stage win who now sits second overall with Nikolaev third and Mardeev fourth.

Competitors with sound mechanical knowhow will hope to be rewarded tomorrow on the second half of the marathon stage. The timed special stage will account for 492km of the total 892km to be covered on Tuesday. For the 255 of the 318 vehicles that started the first stage in Paraguay still in the race the next challenge is to safely reach the Salta bivouac after recrossing the border into Argentina.

DAKAR RALLY

Matthias Walkner on the road to La Paz © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Active Rest Day keeps Dakar racers on their toes in La Paz

The brakes were put on the 2017 Dakar Rally today as the competitors and crews enjoyed a much needed Rest Day in La Paz. With over 4,000 kilometres already ventured through Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia there was anticipation in the bivouac of what’s to come on the second week of the toughest test of endurance motorsport has to offer.

With no racing on Sunday the Dakar camp in Bolivia’s capital city was a hive of activity from sunrise to sunset. Mechanics and engineers worked tirelessly on the cars, bikes, trucks and quads that remain in the race.

The world’s media were also busy in La Paz as they caught up with competitors to get their take on the race so far. With Team Peugeot Total occupying all three podium positions in the car category the questions came thick and fast for Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and Cyril Despres (FRA). The French trio were happy to reflect on a solid first week of driving but also careful not to get too carried away with nearly 5,000 kilometres still to be covered.

Also looking to defend their strong position is the Red Bull KTM Factory Team who currently have Sam Sunderland (GBR) leading the bike race. Sunderland and his team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) are on a quest to deliver KTM their 16th consecutive Dakar win.

Team Kamaz Master are relishing their battle in the truck race with reigning champion Gerard De Rooy (NLD). With Eduard Nikolaev (RUS), Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) and Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) all within striking distance of De Rooy we’re guaranteed plenty more drama when this contest gets back underway tomorrow.

There was also the chance today for race fans to come and have close up look at the bivouac and get a real taste of the action. One special guest having a good look around was windsurfing legend Robby Naish. The self-confessed motorhead was blown away by the scale of the operation that keeps the Dakar on the road and enjoyed a guided tour of the PEUGEOT 3008 DKR.

Tomorrow will give Naish the chance to see Peugeot’s machine as well as the rest of the Dakar convoy in action as we travel 622km to Uyuni. It’s the first half of this year’s marathon stage so competitors will be separated from their mechanics and will have to carry out any necessary repairs by themselves.

F1weekly podcast # 715

CLARK AND NASIR STILL IN SHOCK OVER NICO’S RETIREMENT BRAZIL AND ABU DHABI STILL FRESH IN THEIR MINDS AND WILL MAX BE A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER NEXT YEAR ALL THIS AND MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL. WE ALSO WANT TO SHARE SOME NEWS FROM RED BULL AND THE DAKAR RALLY COMING AHEAD.

Success at the Dakar depends on great teamwork, there’s no other way to tackle the challenges that arise when traversing 10,000km of the planet’s harshest terrain. That’s why Red Bull have joined forces with offroad experts in every imaginable field to ensure peak performance is maintained throughout the 2017 Dakar Rally.

Once again Red Bull is sharing the road with Team Peugeot Total as they look to defend the car race title they secured at the previous edition of the rally. The brand-new PEUGEOT 3008 DKR has been given an impressive paint job before being shipped to South America and fans of endurance racing can’t wait to see this fearsome machine in action.

here’s also high expectations for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Team Kamaz Masteras they look to extend their winning records in the bike and truck categories respectively. With 11 months of preparation now over these teams have waved off their machines from Le Havre, France and will collect them in a few weeks in South America.

As the teams fine-tune their strategies for success at the Dakar we’re cooking up our own plan to bring the rally closer than ever to fans around the world. Red Bull TV will be broadcasting a daily show featuring engaging features and interviews. RedBull.com will have all the latest news direct from the bivouac and the Red Bull Content Pool is offering a constant stream of downloadable content to media outlets.

The Red Bull team of content creators will be hard at work throughout the rally and the stylish yet durable clothing supplied to them by AERONAUTICA MILITARE is sure to help them operate in whatever conditions the Dakar will throw at them. The sportswear brand is endorsed by the Italian Air Force and has been designed to stand up to even the most testing of environments – and that’s exactly what we’ll find at the Dakar!

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FORMULA 1

LCH LOOSES THE 2016 FORMULA 1 DRIVERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. CONGRATS TO NICO!

Rosberg has won his maiden Formula One world championship. Needing to finish in the top three in Sunday’s final race of the season in Abu Dhabi he was second to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

But he had to survive a scary few final laps as the outgoing champion ignored team orders and attempted to back Rosberg into the cars behind.

The result means Rosberg has won the tile by five points. The fact that Hamilton has won 10 races to Rosberg’s nine this year will be of no consolation to him.

It was another controlled, calculated race by the German to bring him the title he has always coveted. But he also showed some courage in his overtaking move on Max Verstappen to regain second place, almost colliding before surging into the lead.

But Rosberg had to survive a late fright as Hamilton employed some gamesmanship by slowing down.

With Hamilton leading, Mercedes told him to quicken up. They asked the driver why he was going so slowly, then said: “Lewis this is an instruction, we need 45.1 for the win.” But Hamilton replied: “I suggest you just let us race.”

With Max Verstappen behind Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel closing fast on fresher rubber, it was a scary moment for Mercedes and Rosberg. The team’s technical director Paddy Lowe came on the radio and said: “Lewis, this is Paddy, we need you to pick up the pace to win this race.”

But again the plea fell on deaf ears. Vettel went past Verstappen to take third and then closed on Rosberg with Hamilton making no attempt to stretch out the pack. “Right now I’m losing the world championship, whether I win or lose this race,” Hamilton said.

Rosberg was reminded that third would be good enough, and with Verstappen struggling on old rubber there was no real threat on the German in the final lap.

But in the end it was the usual one-two for Mercedes, with Vettel third and Verstappen fourth.

FORMULA 1

MAX ON THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX

MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 4th*(3rd)*, Start Position: 3rd  
“When I went off the track towards the end I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one. He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn’t even gain an advantage, I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don’t understand the penalty. I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalise Seb. It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules. As long as we can stick to the rules every week then we won’t have the frustration we felt after the race. I’m really happy for Daniel to get on the podium after a strong drive and it’s a great result for the team. It makes our second position in the Constructors’ Championship that little bit closer and I believe it confirms Daniel as P3 in the Drivers’ Championship. After a bit of stress we end the weekend with smiles all round. I could have done with a few more laps on the supersoft to get me closer to overtaking Nico, but at the end of the day we were always going to struggle to overtake here due to straight line speed. At the end of the day the Mexican fans have been amazing once again, the atmosphere and noise was great.”
*finish position revised following own penalty and penalty for Car 5