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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

The stage is set for a grand finale at the 2017 Dakar Rally

The big contenders at the Dakar are ready for a race to the line © Marcelo Maragni/Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

The 9,000km of the 2017 Dakar Rally is coming to a close with the Buenos Aires finish line now just three days away. With racing suspended on Wednesday due to raging thunderstorms and landslides we get back underway tomorrow as the Dakar convoy heads south through Argentina.

Dakar competitors were given the chance to recharge their batteries as they travelled the 675km between Salta and Chilecito over tarmac due to the cancelation of today’s stage. This gave the guys at the front of the race the chance to devise their tactics for the final few stages of the contest.

After coming through the marathon stage with his lead intact Sam Sunderland (GBR) is breaking new ground in his Dakar career having never previously made it to the second week of the race. The Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider currently enjoys a cushion of just over 20 minutes from Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) in second place. Sunderland’s team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) is another rider yet to cross the finish line at his previous Dakar attempts. The Austrian biker is currently fourth overall, 34m14s behind Sunderland, and has his sights set on a podium finish.

The gaps are tighter at the head of the car race with less than two minutes separating race leader Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and his Peugeot team-mate Stéphane Perterhansel (FRA). Monsieur Rally and Monsieur Dakar will go head-to-head once again on tomorrow’s 449km timed special stage between Chilecito and San Juan. Occupying the final podium spot is Cyril Despres (FRA), also of Team Peugeot Total, as the five-time Dakar bike race winner continues to impress on four wheels.

A bittersweet Stage Eight for Team Kamaz Master allowed them take the lead of the truck race but also saw Ayrat Mardeev (RUS), 2015 winner, lose time due to getting stuck in the sand. The new name at the top of the general classification is Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) who leads his Kamaz team-mate Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) by 1m46s. Waiting for the chance to fight back on Stage Ten is defending truck race champion Gerard De Rooy (NDL). If you’re after late fireworks then keep your eyes on these big beasts going flat out for the final few days.

A win on Stage Eight of the quad category was a signal of intent from Ignacio Casale (CHL) as he brought race leader Sergey Karyakin (RUS) into sight. With three Dakar days remaining the Chilean in third overall is a little over ten minutes behind Karyakin.

When the Dakar gets back underway tomorrow expect soaring temperatures to play their part as the racers try to retrieve their rhythm. The navigational challenges that have been a trademark of this Dakar are also back with a vengeance on the route to San Juan. With Buenos Aires now less than 2,000km away every kilometre is crucial as the gaps between glory and agony begin to close.

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

NICO LEAVES FORMULA ONE AND  LCH UNDERSTANDS!

Nico Rosberg retires from Formula 1 after winning world championship . Rosberg says world championship was his dream and ‘now I’ve made it’; Made decision a day after winning title in Abu Dhabi; Mercedes now looking for a new team-mate for Lewis Hamilton

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has sensationally announced he has retired from Formula 1 with immediate effect.

The German driver, 31, won the title last week, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to his first Drivers’ Championship.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became world champion,” said Rosberg. “On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.”

Rosberg has revealed he took the decision to quit on Monday evening, just 24 hours after sealing his maiden title in the season finale.  Upon informing Toto Wolff, Rosberg says the Mercedes team boss “knew straight away I was completely convinced and that reassured me”. Wolff has described the decision as “brave” and “testament to the strength of his character”.

The Austrian added: “He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.”

NICO: Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target. I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg (Nolte, from Nico’s management team), followed by Toto.

The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me. My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people,the Silver Arrows.

“Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me

GP3

LECLERC TAKES THE GP3 CHAMPIONSHIP DE VRIES WINS DRAMATIC RACE

ART Grand Prix’s and FDA’s Charles Leclerc champion in Yas Marina
Ferrari Driver Academy and ART Grand Prix rookie Charles Leclerc started the 2016 GP3 Series season as a title favourite and today his dream became reality after a very eventful Race 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit. His title rival Alexander Albon (also from ART GP) started from reverse pole but suffered damage and retired during a battle for the lead of the race. Dutchman Nyck de Vries was victorious from the Arden International duo of Jake Dennis and Jack Aitken. The Monegasque also retired in dramatic fashion but he had done enough already to clinch the prestigious crown.
Albon started from pole and made a good getaway to retain the lead. Dennis from the front row lost several positions after a sluggish start, thus promoting Aitken and De Vries. It was a frenetic first lap with the top four drivers glued together. Leclerc remained in fifth at this point until DAMS’ Santino Ferrucci passed the ART driver at the close of the opening lap.
Lap 1 saw Trident’s Antonio Fuoco suffer a right front puncture after contact with Jenzer Motorsport’s Arjun Maini: the Italian finished outside of the points. Meanwhile a huge train of cars were sat behind Leclerc in P6 with Kevin Joerg the next one eager to make a move on the Series leader.
Aitken posted the fastest lap of the race in second place, putting the pressure on Albon in P1 who was leading by 2.6s, with Leclerc 7s adrift. The safety car was briefly deployed after Tatiana Calderon spun and stopped at Turn 1. Once the race resumed, the Thai racer controlled his getaway from Aitken well, but the Arden driver was ready to attack as the duo enjoyed a superb wheel to wheel battle for a number of corners with Aitken coming out on top.
Aitken held a half a second advantage over the ART driver but Albon was quick to retaliate and fought back into the lead of the race, knowing a win was vital to help his chances of remaining in the title battle.
On lap 11, disaster struck for Albon as he ran over the kerb whilst dicing for the lead and his ART machine went airborne, making contact with Aitken. Albon’s race was over, as were his hopes of becoming champion. This promoted De Vries into the lead who had been holding off Dennis for the large majority of the race.
Ferrucci was holding onto the final podium position ahead of Leclerc. The Ferrari Driver Academy star was eager to celebrate his newly gained GP3 crown on the podium by passing the American driver but unfortunately there was a small contact between the pair, which resulted into the Monegasque having a puncture and retiring. Still, Leclerc had done enough to clinch the title and returned to the pitlane to celebrate with his ART GP squad.
Aitken carved his way past Ferrucci for P3 in a feisty battle; the DAMS driver was then issued with a 10s time penalty for forcing the Briton off track. Amidst all of the excitement, De Vries continued to drive a mature and confident race, keeping Dennis at bay to pocket his second GP3 win of the season by 1s. Aitken completed the rostrum ahead of Kevin Joerg – his best result in GP3 with fourth. Nirei Fukuzumi, Steijn Schothorst, Jake Hughes, Konstantin Tereschenko (also his best result), Ferrucci and Alex Palou completed the top ten.

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

25 – 27 NOVEMBER
YAS MARINA CIRCUIT
ROUND 21 OF 21
It’s just seven years since Abu Dhabi arrived on the calendar with Formula One’s first ever twilight race, yet the Yas Marina circuit has already established itself as a staple of the season. The ultra-modern design stands apart thanks to its unique features, including the LED-lit hotel sprawling over the circuit and tunnelled pit lane exit, as well as joining the likes of Monaco and Singapore in boasting a trackside yacht-filled marina. The long straights and open nature of the circuit promote entertaining racing, and the venue was the scene of celebrations for Williams in 2014 as a double podium for Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas secured the team 66 points in the double points system, the most points scored by a team at a single grand prix.
For Abu Dhabi, Pirelli have made available the ultra soft, super soft and soft tyres.
Pat Symonds
After two high altitude races we now head right down to sea level in Abu Dhabi. Although a modern circuit, it is quite challenging with the high-speed areas of turns two and three, and turns 15 and 16, really testing the cars. However, the set-up also needs to allow good low-speed change of direction. The two long straights have independent DRS zones giving drivers two bites at overtaking, or conversely, if they accomplish the overtake on the first straight, they must defend on the second. Pirelli are bringing the ultra soft tyre to this race for the first time, which could prove a difficult tyre to use as the numerous corners that make up sector three may well push this tyre above its ideal operating temperature, particularly as the prescribed pressure is significantly higher than we have used with this tyre before. Unlike Brazil, we can be pretty sure of a dry race here in the desert and, in spite of the introduction of the softer tyre, we would still expect a two-stop to be the favoured strategy.
Valtteri Bottas
Abu Dhabi is a nice place to finish the Formula One season. The facilities are great there and it seems like more and more people come to this race every year. It’s the place where I had my first ever Formula One test in 2011. It’s a good track for racing and it looks very cool with the sunset. We ended the 2014 season there with a double podium so it would be nice to finish this season with another strong result. Normally it’s a good track for our car because of the long straights and short corners and chicanes, so I look forward to it.
Felipe Massa
It’s going to be another emotional one! You try not think about it too much when you’re in the car, you just try to do as good a job as you can. It’s a really nice track to drive, there are lots of fans who really enjoy themselves at the track and outside of the track and it is, of course, a twilight race which is interesting for us and everyone watching. I really hope the final, and 250th race of my Formula One career, can be a fantastic one. We will of course have a big party! Hopefully we can celebrate with a great result.