Stephane Peterhansel takes Dakar Rally Stage 6 into Riyadh, Carlos Sainz retains overall lead

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Dakar Rally - Stage 6 - Ha'il to Riyadh, January 10: Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team's Stephane Peterhansel and Paulo Fiuza. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 January 2020

Stephane Peterhansel takes Dakar Rally Stage 6 into Riyadh, Carlos Sainz retains overall lead

  • Frenchman Peterhansel finished one minute 35 seconds ahead of Spaniard Sainz
  • Former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso was sixth in his Toyota

RIYADH: Stephane Peterhansel won the sixth stage of the Dakar rally on Friday as his Mini team-mate Carlos Sainz retained the overall lead.
Ricky Brabec won the motorbike section of the 477 kilometer stage to Riyadh.
Bobby Patton, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, crashed out of his first Dakar after four kilometers. The race news service reported that the accident left “his co-pilot with back and torso injuries.”
Frenchman Peterhansel finished one minute 35 seconds ahead of Spaniard Sainz.
Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar was third in his Toyota, 3min 22sec off the lead, with Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi warmly greeted by fans as he finished fourth in another Toyota a further 3min 20sec back.

Former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso was sixth in his Toyota, 7min 56sec behind Peterhansel.
Sainz increased his lead in the overall standings to 7min 46sec over Al-Attiyah. Peterhansel is third, 16min 18sec behind Sainz. Two-time Formula One champion Alonso is 16th, more than three hours off the pace.
The stage started over fast, flat sands but there were dunes later on.

“Today was a long stage, 477 kilometers, so it’s long. It was fast but sometimes we crossed some dunes, so it was slow, fast, slow, fast,” 13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel said.
“The biggest problem for me is that with these high speeds you need to be really concentrated a lot. You are not physically tired but it’s more mentally tiring.”
Al-Attiyah said the Minis had an advantage over his Toyota.
“We are really going at the maximum and the Mini buggy is too fast compared to a 4x4,” he said. “We’ll see next week. It will be tougher.”

Saudi entrant Al Rajhi continued his strong showing despite mechanical difficulties.
“I am happy,” he said. “I’m from Riyadh. I have a lot of fans here and I enjoyed it a lot so thanks to them for coming.”
“Today was not an easy day. After the start we had a leak of oil and we were scared because there was a crack and I was scared all the oil would leak out. But taking care and taking it easy was the most important.”
Brabec grabbed his second stage victory in the motorbikes, finishing 1min 34sec ahead of Honda team-mate Spaniard Joan Bareda. Austrian KTM rider Matthias Walkner was third at 2min 45sec.
“It was a long stage,” Brabec said. “It was a big one, the first real stage of 100 percent sand. I’m just happy to be here and to be leader in the general standings.”
Saturday is a rest day.
“We deserve some rest,” said Brabec who leads Chilean Pablo Quintanilla of Husqvarna by 20min 56sec in the overall standings at the half-way stage.

 


NBA teams face concerns outside of bubble

Updated 13 min 58 sec ago

NBA teams face concerns outside of bubble

BUENA VISTA, Florida: Luke Walton was trying to find the right words to motivate his players to finish the season strong.

The Sacramento Kings had been eliminated from playoff contention, which was nothing new for the team with the NBA’s longest streak of missing the postseason.

Yet, even players who’d spent their whole careers with the organization had never heard the type of speech their coach made this week. This wasn’t the normal talk of playing for pride, of trying to make an impression for next season.

“He said something like, ‘We don’t know when the basketball is going to come back after this time,’” guard Bogdan Bogdanovic said.

The 22 teams who qualified for the NBA’s restart will be down to 16 by the end of the weekend, when the playoff bracket is set. The other six clubs exit World Disney World the same way as tourists who normally pack the place.

HIGHLIGHT

With only a limited number of people allowed inside the bubble and a commitment among them to making sure it worked, players could count on a safe environment.

Their fun is over. Now it’s back to the real world, and the real world in 2020 is an unsettling place.

“The unknown, none of us like that,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said.

Uncertainty awaits at the end of every season for teams that miss the playoffs. Coaches might not be retained. Free agents may not be re-signed. This time, though, the questions go far beyond simple basketball matters. The coronavirus pandemic forces teams to wonder whether they will be safe, and when — or where — they might be back together again.

“I mean, we’re leaving the happiest and safest place on earth and it’s definitely going to be tough, but it’s also going to be exciting because we all get to see our families and that’s what we miss the most,” Brooks said. “But we don’t know what the next step is going to be.”

NBA teams have been on campus since early July and there has not been a player test positive for the coronavirus during that time. Meanwhile, the virus has raged on elsewhere in the US, strengthening in some places as the number of cases in the country soared past 5 million.

With only a limited number of people allowed inside the bubble and a commitment among them to making sure it worked, players could count on a safe environment. They were tested daily and reminders about mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing were so ubiquitous that Brooks said the Wizards could pretty much memorize the video the league gave them.

“Honestly, the NBA’s done a great job,” New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday said. “This has been the safest place on earth. Seriously, the safest place on earth.”

Players aren’t assured of that security now. Mask wearing isn’t required in some places, not enforced in others. A common commitment to following medical recommendations is one of the reasons the US has struggled so badly to slow the spread of the virus in the first place.

Walton said there is obvious concern for those already gone or on their way out of Florida.