Nasser Al Attiyah has brought an end to the Peugeot domination of this 38th Dakar. At the end of the stage, the leading Mini triumphed ahead of the two Peugeots driven by Carlos Sainz, 12 seconds behind, and Stéphane Peterhansel, 31 seconds behind. As for Sébastien Loeb, having difficulty in the dunes, he made a wrong move towards the end of the special and drops down the general standings. In the bike race, Toby Price (KTM) enjoyed a twofold triumph, winning the stage and taking command of the general standings.
Stage 8 will most certainly be remembered as one of the most hotly contested on this Dakar. Nasser Al Attiyah pulled out all the stops to finally put an end to the domination of the Peugeots on this 38th edition of the Dakar. He claimed his victory right at the end of 393 kilometres of effort. In the lead on the stage from the first CP, the Qatari at one point boasted and advantage of 1’30” over Sainz and more than 6 minutes over Peterhansel.
“I am here to fight, I don’t care and I’ll do my best to win this Dakar. Tomorrow and after tomorrow we really need to maximum performance and without any mistakes,”Al Attiyah said.
The devilish pace at the end of the stage proved to be hellish for the hopes of Sébastien Loeb. Stuck in the dunes at the start of the second section, the leader of the general standings was forced to put the pedal to the metal to catch up, but made a wrong move 20 kilometres from the finish. Fortunately uninjured after an impressive series of rolls, the Loeb-Elena duo are the major losers of the day.
In the bike category, Toby Price did not pass up the opportunity to make an impression. Having started this morning 3’12 behind the leader of the general standings, Paulo Gonçalves, Price triumphed in Belen, 5’17 ahead of the Portuguese rider. The Australian also took advantage of his rival’s problems as Gonçalves crashed and damaged his navigation instruments. As a result, Price climbs to the top of the general standings this evening with a lead of 2’05” over his nearest rival. Stefan Svitko remains in third place.
“I’m pretty sure it’s gonna a dual right until the end with Paolo and I think it’s not gonna come down to minutes but it’s gonna come down to seconds. He is riding really good and really strong and we’re trying our best. My second Dakar, would be nice to try and win one but we still got another 6 days odd to go so anything can happen so we’ll just make sure we stay on 2 wheels and get to the finish line,” said Price.
In the quad category, the Patronelli brothers enjoyed another problem free day. Marcos was victorious ahead of Alejandro and South African Brian Baragwanath. In the general standings, the Patronelli brothers remain in command. Alejandro leads Marcos by 2’06”and Peruvian Alexis Hernandez by more than 30 minutes.