Sam Sunderland Wins The 2022 Dakar Rally

It’s a second victory for the British rider, and a first for GASGAS, as Sam Sunderland wins the 2022 Dakar Rally. The 32-year-old finished Stage 11 in eighth place, giving him the overall win by just under 3 minutes. After almost 40 hours of racing, the top three in the overall standings were separated by a little under seven minutes, with Stage 12 winner Pablo Quintanilla taking second, and Matthias Walkner in third.

The 32-year-old has consistently been near the top of the rankings throughout the 2022 event, and his consistency has been rewarded. And it’s a 19th win in 22 years for KTM, as the parent company of GASGAS.

Sam Sunderland Wins The 2022 Dakar Rally
Sam Sunderland Wins The 2022 Dakar Rally

Sam Sunderland: “Wow. What a feeling! That 10-minute period waiting at the end of the final stage to see if I’d won felt like a lifetime. But this feeling, knowing I’ve won a second Dakar, will stay in my memory forever. This win feels better than the first as this victory was anything but easy. The times were so close this year and there was no time to let off the gas, it was a really close race, right to the end. All of the hard work, the sacrifices, and everything that the GASGAS team has done for me makes it all worthwhile. It’s been five years since my first Dakar win, and it’s been a long time to wait! I’m super happy to get another win and claim the first one for GASGAS. Everyone on the team has worked so hard to achieve this and it’s a true team effort – together we got the job done. Amazing.”

Dakar Stage 12 Results:

  • Pablo Quintanilla 1:40.00
  • Toby Price 1:40.18
  • Jose Ignacio Conrejo Flamino 1:40.29
  • Joan Barreda Bort 1:41.13
  • Mason Klein 1:41.23

FInal 2022 Dakar Results:

  • Sam Sunderland 38:47.30
  • Pablo Quintanilla 38:50.57
  • Matthias Walkner 38:54.17
  • Adrien Van Beveren 39:06.11
  • Joan Barreda Bort 39:13.12

Fellow Brits David McBridge and David Mabbs finished Stage 11 in 56th and 103rd place respectively for the Vendetta Racing team, while Simon Hewitt completed the final stage in 116th. This puts McBridge 47th in the final standings, with David Mabbs in 92nd, and Simon Hewitt in 111th from a total field of 125 riders classified. After retiring earlier in the event due to a mechanical issue, Danilo Petrucci ended 93rd overall, one place behind Mabbs.

Sam Sunderland with Pablo Quintanilla and Matthias Walkner, who finished second and third overall
Dakar 2022 winner Sam Sunderland with Pablo Quintanilla and Matthias Walkner, who finished second and third overall

Mirjam Pol finished 49th overall and secured the Women’s Trophy by a comfortable margin from Sandra Gomez and Sara Garcia. The Original by Motul standings were topped by Arunuas Gelazninkas from Milan Engel and Benjamin Melot, while the Junior Trophy went to Mason Klein (who also finished 9th in the overall standings) ahead of team-mate Bradley Cox and Konrad Dabrowski. The Veterans Trophy went to Mario Patrao, from David McBridge and Mikael Despontin. The Rally2 class for non-professional riders also went to Mason Klein, from French riders Camille Chapeliere and Romain Dumontier.

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Ice-Ready Battle Armor Looks Perfect On This “ICE6” Audi S6

ICE6 rally armor

Winter rallycross requires added robustness. This S6 ditched the plastic bumper cover for a metal creation dubbed ICE6.

Those of us (un)lucky enough to live in the snowy winter climates have one winter refuge when it comes to motorsports. Ice autocross. Conceptually, it is exactly what the name implies. A dash around the cones, but on ice or snow instead of pavement. We discovered this ice autocross car on Facebook, and found it was constructed by two enthusiasts named Artsem Vechar and Mitch Vokaty. The car itself is owned by Jay Bullington, and the “ICE6” concept for this ice racer is very cool.

Much like autocross, drivers in ice autocross have a tendency of taking their build to extremes. And while you may have already noticed this car’s porcupine tires, we’re mostly interested in what’s going on with that new fascia.

ICE6 Audi S6

Snowbanks are filled with ice chunks, despite snow itself being soft. Plus, orange cones are rock hard in frigid temperatures. Plastic bumper covers have a tendency to break in these conditions, but metal sure won’t. Vechar described the build as “unique and challenging.” That’s an understatement considering it is a 4-piece build, that utilizes a new front grille section, the entire front bumper section, a skid plate, and fenders.

Best part of all? This setup installs in factory mounting points, and can revert back to stock.

Materials used include 1.5 inch, 11 gauge DOM tubing for the structure. The bumper itself utilized 7 gauge sheet metal, and the fenders used 16 gauge sheet. We’re most impressed by the precision, the ability to work around existing components within the bumper, and also keep all of the Audi styling cues as part of the build. Speaking of which, the “ICE6” integration into the fender is seriously cool.

What would be even cooler is if this kind of build can be integrated into the latest craze of exo karts. You know, the cars that have all of the body panels removed, with the only part that’s left is a floor and a bit of roll cage. This would fit the theme, and be able to identify what the car once was. It probably would be a bit cold for ice racing though.

Photos: Artsem Vechar

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MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi Joins Team WRT for 2022

Valentino Rossi and Team WRT R8

Rossi retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season, but made no secret of his desire to keep racing.

In the two-wheeled world, Valentino Rossi needs no introduction. During his legendary career, the Italian MotoGP superstar won an astonishing nine Grand Prix world championships, and ushered in a new era of motorcycle racing’s premier class. Rossi retired from two-wheeled competition at the end of the 2021 season, but he made no secret of his desire to keep racing, and now we know he’s headed to Team WRT, where he’ll pilot an Audi R8 in the GT World Challenge Europe. Here’s his full statement about the move:

I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme. Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end. Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing program at a high level and with the right professional approach. Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them.     

Given his celebrated status in the world of motorsport, this is unquestionably a huge get for Team WRT, and as a longtime fan of Rossi, I’m excited to see how his skills translate after adding an additional pair of wheels.

As of last month, he was already testing the Audi R8 LMS GT3 which WRT will run this season, so announcement comes as little surprise. In a nod to his past success on the track, his car will bear the number 46, which he has sported his entire career. Interestingly, that number has not been retired from MotoGP — though it’d take one hell of set of stones to put it on a race bike.

Official test days for 2022 GT World Challenge Series Europe kick off March 8th at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, and the first race is set for one month later, at Monza in Italy. How exactly how Rossi and his teammates — which will include factory Audi drivers — will fare this season remains to be seen. But “The Doctor’s” presence in the pits is sure to create some excitement for the series, particularly in his home country. Until then, check out the video below to watch some of the best moments from Rossi’s extraordinary MotoGP career!

Photos: ValentinoRossi.com

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FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS

Inspired by Chevy’s ’65 Chevelle Z16 Malibu SS-396, Buick engineers developed the FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS. Ken Kayser owns a rare survivor that’s prominently featured in his new Buick performance history book.

FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS

Every Musclecar enthusiast knows something about the Chevelle SS-396, Pontiac GTO and Olds 4-4-2, and Chevy Malibu (RPO L37) SS-396 aficionados know all about the highly-prized 200 Z16 Malibu SS 396/375 Police Specials. However, virtually no one knows about Buick’s ‘66 Gran Sport Ultra-High Compression 200 FLINT FLYERS. Thanks to Ken Kayser, that’s all about to change!

Only 12 Pilot-build “Promotional Drag-Racing” (RPO L78) Gran Sports of the planned 200 were produced by Buick Engineering in 1966. And, only one very special FLINT FLYER survived and was found by Ken Kayser with its original powertrain and very rare metallic racing brakes! Finding and purchasing this unique Skylark provided the impetus for Kayser writing his new 622-page award-winning book – Buick’s “Flint Flyers” Skylark & GRAN SPORT History – and including five chapters on RPO L78 GS Skylarks.

Ken Kayser’s engineering and executive career resume at General Motors is as impressive as the research and reference-quality books he has produced since retiring in 2008. In addition to a limited-edition coffee-table book – Zora’s #58053 – celebrating the first L-88 Development Test Car and Duntov-influenced special Corvettes – and his first Buick book, he has authored and published four Corvette and Zora Arkus-Duntov-related tomes. They are all required-reading for GM, Chevy, Corvette enthusiasts and automotive history buffs. Kayser discovered the actual L-88 Development car decades later, left, restored it and often displays it when speaking at special events.

Kayser started his career as an engineering co-op student at GMI (Kettering University) in 1968, and spent a couple of years building L88 and ZL1 big-blocks in Tonawanda. During that time, he interfaced with Duntov on a regular basis. He later worked his way up to Mark V Big Block Business Unit Manager. He was transferred to GM’s newly-formed Powertrain Division in Brighton, MI in late-1993 and he purchased Buick’s third Chief Engineer F. A. “Dutch” Bower’s mansion built in 1930.

From 1995 to 2010 Ken continued to devote much of his spare time to researching GM, Buick, Chevrolet, and the Corvette. In 1996 Ken began regularly attending the annual NCRS Florida Regional Meet held in January originally at Cypress Gardens and then at “Old Town” in Kissimmee. At the 2011 NCRS Florida meet, Tyler Townsley asked if Ken wanted to eat lunch with him at someplace other than the food court trucks? Tyler drove to his nearby favorite Cracker Barrel where he told Ken his sad story of a ‘66 Buick Gran Sport factory racecar for sale in Fort Meade, FL. Tyler wanted to buy the 5,000-mile Buick gem however his wife insisted that three Corvettes was enough! If Tyler wanted the Buick, he had to sell one of the Corvettes and Tyler passed on what was the rare FLINT FLYER featured here!

Knowing the background history of the FLINT FLYER name – three Buick executives started the L.A.W. Aeroplane Co. in Flint using a converted Buick engine – Ken was interested in the car. The L.A.W. plane was called the FLINT FLYER and it first flew over the city of Flint on September 3, 1910. Thereafter, racing Buick automobiles were often referred to as Flint Flyers up to WW II.

FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKSBuick’s 1953 “Nailhead” V-8 engine was slated to end production after the 1966 model year in favor of a new design V-8 engine for 1967. Buick Engineering planned for a 1966 Grand Finale Nailhead Ultra-High Compression (11.1-to-1) V-8 engine generating maximum horsepower and torque. Buick’s key UHC components were a Rochester QuadraJet four-barrel carb, Delco-Remy distributor with a custom advance curve, high domed pistons, and a high-lift 6,000-rpm camshaft. Buick planned for only 200 UHC engines when Buick’s late-1965 Skylark Gran Sport was gasping for survival thanks to Chevy’s SS-396, Pontiac’s GTO, and Oldsmobile’s 4-4-2. Buick designed the 200-unit UHC 401-cubic-inch V-8 solely to boost its lagging ‘66 Gran Sport sales.

Eric Dahlquist revealed Buick’s UHC Gran Sport V-8 in an article in the April 1966 HOT ROD that hit newsstands February 1, 1966. Drag racer Robert Altman, Service Manager at Hosmer Buick in Bartow, FL read that article about the 200 Buick drag race cars. He asked William “Bill” Hosmer his boss and dealer principal, if they could get one of the allegedly already built Gran Sports in December 1965.

Bob had regularly purchased a new high-performance Buick every year since 1955, starting when he worked at Howell Buick that became Hosmer Buick in 1958. They called the Buick Jacksonville Zone rep George Keelean who said, “Buick doesn’t make any race cars.” Bill Hosmer replied, “According to HOT ROD magazine they do, so please pass along our request. Word soon came back from Buick to Bill Hosmer: “He could have one of the UHC Gran Sports, but since there was a delay in their assembly, he could still submit a custom order for it.”

Ken Kayser believes that there was a “hold” placed on Buick by the Corporation due to the almost ten-year old 1957 factory racing ban. GM was the last of the Big Three automakers adhering to the ban. The issue came to the attention of GM’s Board when Chevrolet announced its 200 specially-built ‘65 Z16 Chevelle Malibu SS-396 musclecars, powered by 375-horsepower Tonawanda Big Block Mark IV engines on June 26, 1965. On June 28, 1965, Buick received Ed Coles blessing for 200 UHC Gran Sports for the 1966 model year!

No matter the cause of the December 1965 extended delay of the 1966 Grand Finale UHC V-8, Buick management panicked as the April HOT ROD article would send excited potential customers to dealerships. Buick needed their highly-touted QuadraJet and modified Delco-Remy distributors visible in the marketplace to save face. Kayser discovered in Buick’s 1966 production records that the standard 1966 RPO L74 Buick Gran Sport 325-horsepower 400-inch V-8 engine was hurriedly modified and rushed into production, adding only the obvious and easy to discern Rochester QuardaJet carb and Delco-Remy distributor. Thus, 132 RPO-L76 Gran Sports were assembled with the new prescription V-8’s rated at 340-horsepower in January and February of 1966 to sprinkle across all Buick zones.  That left a remaining balance of sixty-eight RPO-L78 UHC V-8 Buick Gran Sports to be assembled with the all-out racing engines.

Buick scheduled a typical one dozen Nailhead Grand Finale Pilot Gran Sports with the RPO-L78 UHC V-8 for the second half of March 1966, including Bob Altman’s highly-optioned car. The remaining 56 Gran Sports with Grand Finale RPO-L78 UHC V-8s would then be assembled in April 1966. Buick decided not to rate the horsepower and torque of RPO L78 UHC engines, and officially categorized them as “Unestablished”. The RPO engine numbers L74, L76, and L78, were not issued by Buick, they were assigned to all car divisions by the Corporation.

FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKSHowever, after the dozen RPO-L78 (UHC) FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS were built GM management nixed the remaining 56 cars and the dozen were re-designated: “Drag-race dealer loaner cars for six-months; to be returned to Buick and scrapped.” Bill Hosmer sold the future FLINT FLYER to Bob the day it arrived on April 7, 1966. It is unknown whether Buick’s policy change to a “racing loaner” was late to arrive or simply ignored!

I asked Ken Kayser what key factors caused his keen interest in the FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS, not to mention undertaking such a significantly comprehensive book project? “First off was the lettered FLINT FLYER front fenders. I knew the meaning and significance of the name FLINT FLYER and that was a very striking visual and historic point of interest. It just drew me in. I never dreamed I would locate the “Florida Highwaymen” African American artist, James “Lone Star” Camp, who lettered the car for Bob as well as the Hosmer Dealership windows. Bob Altman’s name on the door personalized it and I was very excited to learn his wife Betty is still alive and so honored to be part of the FLINT FLYER’s new history.”

NOTE: Starting in the 1950s, self-taught African-American painters known as “Highwaymen” made a living capturing Florida’s natural landscapes and selling their vivid paintings on the sides of roads throughout Florida. https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/florida-highwaymen

“Then there’s was the combined incredible rarity of Buick’s original “Special Car Order” UHC engine, ST-300 transmission, 4.30-to-1 Positive Traction gears, and the awesome J56 Metallic Racing Brakes. Discovering UHC engine re-builder Robert Birge helped put all the fabulous specific engine details together. Plus, finding all of Bob’s personal touches still in place: Hooker Headers, side-mounted exhaust outlets, dash switches for the hot-wired transmission and electric fuel “boost” pump, a G-Force meter, Stewart Warner Greenline gauges, rear air shocks, Buick dual-note horns, and Bob’s “Specially Built by Buick” brass dash plaque. The FLINT FLYER covered just 5,065 miles since new and still has its original Rally wheel with Goodyear Red Line spare, and never used bumper jack, cigarette lighter and ashtray. Bob’s four-way flasher, the tissue dispenser and his original papers and booklets are more eye candy that helped seal the deal!”

I asked Ken if there were any unique takeaways from his overall Buick experience? “It’s all about celebrating the mostly anonymous great people employed by automobile manufacturers around the world who envisioned their legendary automobile creations, now sought by today’s enthusiasts and collectors! Each and every unique automobile is an everlasting tribute to its visionary dreamers and stylists. Unfortunately, the engineers, managers, and workers who hand crafted each one with personal pride and passion mostly go unknown. In the case of the FLINT FLYER, I’ve met many Buick Flint employees over the years who were concurrent with my GM career from the mid-1960’s through GM’s horrific bankruptcy in late 2008.”

 Ken Kayser’s Skylark GS FLINT FLYER debuted on March 27, 2021 along with his 622-page, 5-pound book, Buick’s “Flint Flyers” Skylark & GRAN SPORT History, at Kelley Buick in Bartow, FL. Covering the ‘53 Motorama Skylark Dream Car through the ’87 GNX, this outstanding book covers Gran Sport history, vintage Stage I & Stage II variants, drag racing, and also recognizes, honors and names over 650 people who played a role in the creation and the 55-year preservation of the FLINT FLYER featured here. Kayser Kayser, right, went on to win the coveted “Harlow H. Curtice GM Hometown Memorial Award” for the FLINT FLYER on August 21, 2021, presented by the Mid-Michigan SAE at the Back To The Bricks show.

https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/florida-highwaymenFor more information about Ken Kayser’s publishing portfolio, including his latest Buick book showcasing FLINT FLYERS: BUICK’S SECRET GS SKYLARKS, please visit https://www.tachometerpublishing.com/

Silver R8 V10 Adds a Touch of Luxury to the Open Road

2010 Audi R8 V10

Over a decade later, 2010 Audi R8 V10 still at the peak of its powers, includes new exhaust system, integrated radar detection.

Is there anything more timeless than the Audi R8? Over two generations spanning from the turn of the millennium to the New ’20s, the R8 and R8 V10 represent to this day the pinnacle of everything Ingolstadt has built.

Thus, this 2010 R8 V10 we happened upon on Bring a Trailer the other day should easily find a new home with plenty of roads to play upon, laying down all the luxury and performance it offers along the way.

2010 Audi R8 V10

This silver R8 V10 landed in Virginia before moving to Maryland, Florida, and its current home of Tennessee. Along the way – likely after leaving Virginia – it picked up an integrated radar detection system. Once in Tennessee with its current owner, a new sound was given to the Audi via a Fabspeed exhaust system. The forged 19-inch wheels will need some new rubber to replace the 2012 date code tires. Tires from 2019 and 2020 are on the Audi, too; those should be okay.

2010 Audi R8 V10

The R8 V10’s 5.2-liter V10 and six-speed manual logged over 52,000 miles in the 12 years it’s been on the road. Each mile, of course, felt all 525 horses and their combined 391 lb-ft of torque rumble over them, including more than a few spirited gallops down the highway. Whether they got to go 220 miles per hour – like the speedometer suggests – is a matter we’ll likely never know about.

2010 Audi R8 V10

Whether flying down the road or cruising on the street, though, the R8 V10’s black leather seats provide all the luxury and warmth anyone could ever want. The driver will definitely love rowing through the gated shifter for the six-speed. And all will love hearing their favorite songs coming out the Bang & Olufsen stereo system, too.

2010 Audi R8 V10

A 2022 R8 V10 performance with quattro starts at nearly $200,000. This one is nearly half that as of this post. One could say this is due to all the supply chain issues pumping up used vehicle prices through the roof. We would say it’s because an Audi like this is truly special.

Photos: Bring a Trailer

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.