Sainz widens the gap at the top of the standings after stage 8 of the 2024 Dakar Sainz widens the gap at the top of the standings after stage 8 of the 2024 Dakar

Sainz widens the gap at the top of the standings after stage 8 of the 2024 Dakar

Sainz widens the gap at the top of the standings after stage 8 of the 2024 Dakar

Jakarta - Carlos Sainz from the Audi team widened his lead as the top of the 2024 Dakar standings after completing stage eight at Hail on Monday which was won by his teammate Mattias Ekstrom.

Ekstrom, who started from 23rd place, was two minutes 45 seconds ahead of fellow Audi driver Stephane Peterhansel as Guerlain Chicherit completed the podium for the Overdrive Toyota team.

Despite failing to join his teammates on the podium, Sainz finished fourth by beating his closest rival, Sebastien Loeb, who was five minutes slower and finished in 10th position, leaving the two drivers 24 minutes 47 seconds apart in the race for the top of the standings, according to Dakar official website.

"I think there is still a long way to go for me and there are still many stages ahead," said Sainz, who has not won a single stage in the Dakar this year.

"You can see how easy it is to lose five or ten minutes in this race. It's very easy, it could be due to navigation, a broken tire, everything... It's very stressful. But today everything went smoothly," said the three-time Spaniard. won the Dakar.

Meanwhile, Loeb, who was still chasing his first title in Dakar, experienced navigation problems that prevented him from appearing fast and hurt his winning momentum in the previous two stages.

“We made a mistake with navigation and lost about ten minutes, so we lost quite a lot of time to Carlos,” Loeb said.

Lucas Moraes from the Toyota Gazoo Racing team shadowed Loeb with a margin of around 40 minutes in third place.

Meanwhile, even though Ekstrom won today's stage, the Swedish racer has been thrown away from the main competition following the suspension damage he experienced in the previous stage.

"Certainly this is very disappointing for me and Emil (Bergkvist/co-pilot) and for the whole team, when we lost the chance to get on the podium in Dakar," said Ekstrom.

"For me it was the toughest and greatest achievement in the world of racing. I will be disappointed for a long time about what happened yesterday, but it is in the past and we have to learn lessons from this race, but it is definitely very difficult to accept."

Meanwhile, defending champion Nasser Al Attiyah and co-pilot Mathieu Baumel failed to complete the stage due to engine failure after km 62.

In the motorbike category, defending champion Kevin Benavides brought the KTM to be the fastest on today's stage, beating his younger brother Luciano who rode a Husqvarna by a margin 31 seconds.

Benavides inherited the leading position after French racer Adrien Van Beveren slowed his motorbike to avoid having to open the road in stage nine, which covers a 417 km route across rocky plains from Hail to Al Ula.

"I don't like what I did. I don't know if it will pay off, we'll see," said Van Beveren after finishing third.

Current standings leader Ricky Brabec (Honda) finished fourth with a difference of four minutes and eight seconds to keep his closest rival Ross Branch (Hero) 42 seconds away in second place.

Mercedes, Alpine, Red Bull ready to reveal latest designs for F1 2024

Jakarta - A number of racing teams, namely Mercedes, Alpine and Red Bull, have announced that they are ready to reveal their respective designs and latest projects to face the 2024 Formula 1 season.

Quoted from the official F1 website, Tuesday, Alpine will be the first of the three teams to announce their latest campaign this season, namely on February 7.

Not only for F1 racing, Alpine also confirmed that their reserve driver from last year, Mick Schumacher, has been recruited to be one of the drivers who will compete in the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Exactly one week later, Mercedes will announce the design and several changes The latest from the W15 that will be ridden by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell this year, broadcast live from Silverstone, England, February 14.

The W15 is also the car that the team nicknamed the "Silver Arrows" hopes will bring them back into competition and win the constructors' title they last won in 2021.

Furthermore, there are defending champions Red Bull who announced their launch on February 15. This launch also marks two decades of Red Bull being one of the competitive teams in F1, after their debut in 2005.

Following F1's switch to ground effect regulations in 2022, Red Bull has dominated the process of winning the drivers' and constructors' titles for the last two seasons.

Last season, Red Bull won 21 of 22 races, with Max Verstappen emerging as champion in 19 of them.

With this, only McLaren, AlphaTauri and Haas have not confirmed when they will make official announcements regarding their cars and projects this season.

Meanwhile, Formula 1's pre-season testing session for this year will take place over three days in Bahrain on February 21-23.

After that, the 2024 Formula 1 season itself will open in Bahrain from February 29 to March 2.
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