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The year is getting off to a sluggish start, and that’s especially true for all those Dakar contenders who were stuck in some pretty severe mud on stage one. Since the rain shortened stage two, we’ve been treated to an absolute offroad spectacle from the French, Spanish, Qatari and South African challengers.
We also have some Formula 1 news, and have a look at Channel 4’s new F1 lineup to boot.
1. Dakar Rally: Sebastien Loeb makes first, but massive mistake in Dakar’s eighth stage
It’s been a great Dakar. Actually, chances are that it’s the best one we’ve seen in South America, and it’s all thanks to Peugeot. The French company has brought the brilliant 2008 DKR to compete in this years race, winning around 90% of the stages held thus far. One of these drivers benefiting is Sebastien Loeb, swapping the lead with Stefan Peterhansel and Carlos Saintz Sr. minute by minute, we knew that this fun wasn’t going to last. And last night, it sadly ended.
Sebastien Loeb, trying to keep up with his Peugeot and Mini rivals, rolled his car just 20mi away from the end of the stage and subsequently lost around an hour on the stage. Peterhansel retook the lead with Saintz second and defending Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah third.
Nasser Al-Attiyah also claimed Mini’s first stage win of the rally raid.
South African Giniel de Villiers currently holds sixth in the general classification, with compatriot Leeroy Poulter seventh, both in Toyotas.
2. F1: Ecclestone should foot generic engine bill — Ferrari
Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari CEO, believes that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone should fun the generic engine unit slated for arrival in 2017, from his company’s pocket. As 2017 approaches, teams are tasked with formulating an alternative engine agreement for the sport, which will make running costs for smaller teams lower and boost the spectacle by more or less equalising performance.
“If you go to Mercedes and you tell them ‘please give us a group of engineers to develop in a parallel mode a different engine, different to that of Mercedes that is compliant with the F1 rules and that costs a certain amount’ then I think FOM should cover that amount of money,” Marchionne told Autosport.
“Those who are managing the commercial rights should take their responsibility.”
3. F1: Coulthard joins Channel 4 F1 team
In other F1 news, David Coulthard is leaving the sinking BBC F1 ship to join Channel 4 and it’s new host of reporters for the 2016 season. The Scot initially worked alongside Martin Brundle at the BBC, before Brundle left to join Sky in 2014. It seems that a bevy of BBC employees are joining Channel 4, so we could see a few move moves before the season begins in earnest.