Good morning! It may be the middle of January but cars will be hitting the track at Daytona at 8:45am ET for the Roar Before the 24, Dakar is set to wrap up a 14 day marathon through the Saudi Arabian desert and three legends will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame tonight! What more could you ask for??
Haas’ New Head Honcho
After the unexpected exit of Guenther Steiner from Haas, Ayao Komatsu steps in to steer the team in a new direction. Komatsu, with a history at BAR and Renault, isn't here to mimic Steiner. “I’m not trying to be Guenther Steiner,” he asserts, valuing their mutual respect but acknowledging their differences. His focus? Playing to his strengths in technical aspects and leaving areas like marketing to others.
Komatsu's journey in F1, from race engineer to chief race engineer, shapes his managerial style. He emphasizes improvement, directness, and honesty, steering clear of politics. However, Haas won't see major investments like other teams, instead focusing on better utilizing current resources.
As Komatsu navigates his first team principal role, he acknowledges the learning curve: “I don’t know what I don’t know, right?” But he's ready to face the challenges with a personal touch and a commitment to team unity. And, in a nod to Steiner, he admits, “my language is not great. I swear way too much” Maybe things won’t be so different after all.
Loeb’s Dakar Dream Derailed
Sebastien Loeb's bid for Dakar glory hit a wall on Stage 11, as mechanical gremlins gnawed at his Prodrive Hunter. 🔧👹 The 420km Al-'Ula to Yanbu stretch proved its reputation as a tire-terror, leaving Loeb stranded after a rogue stone took out his car's right-front. "Sebastien Loeb has been halted at 132 km due to broken front right-hand A-arm," Loeb’s team reported, marking a grim end to his maiden victory chase. 🏁
While Loeb played catch-up, Carlos Sainz cruised with a 13m22s buffer, steering his Audi towards a potential third Dakar crown. 🏆 Loeb, meanwhile, faced the harsh truth: "The Frenchman is reported to have asked his assistance to pick him up and exit the special. He will be able to take starter’s orders tomorrow, but the fight for overall victory is over."
As the dust settles, Sainz's lead looks insurmountable, with Toyota's Lucas Moraes lagging by over an hour. Loeb's teammate woes compounded the misery, leaving him to navigate the rocky path solo. 🗺️ The rally's unforgiving nature once again proves that the road to Dakar is paved with more than just sand and speed.
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