2020 Dakar Rally Speeds Across the Sands of Saudi Arabia on Stage 8
© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
The 2020 Dakar Rally continued its relentless journey across Saudi Arabia on Stage 8 of the classic desert race.
Leads came and went as competitors were forced to navigate a series of dunes amid spectacular scenery. It was another pulsating day of action in the car race with the leading trio even closer together after Stage 8. Race leader Carlos Sainz (ESP) saw his advantage cut to less than seven minutes on the 477-kilometre loop stage around the Wadi Al-Dawasir bivouac.
“We were all together on the stage, in a group of five with Nasser (Al-Attiyah), Stéphane (Peterhansel), Yazeed (Al Rajhi) and Bernhard (Ten Brinke).” – Carlos Sainz
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) now has four days left to try and leapfrog Sainz while Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) is only 13 minutes off the lead. Stay tuned to this battle between three offroad heavyweights who already have 18 Dakar wins between them.
“At the beginning it was Carlos (Sainz) opening the road until he got stuck. Then Nasser (Al-Attiyah) got stuck in the dunes and after that I opened the road for more than 200 kilometres. Navigation was so tricky that we all reduced the speed.” – Stéphane Peterhansel
There was a shuffling of the pack overnight for Red Bull Off-Road Team USA. The mentor crew of Cyril Despres (FRA) and Mike Horn (SUI) made the selfless act of giving their engine to team-mate Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) when mechanical problems saw the young American retire from Stage 7.
With Despres and Horn out of the race, Guthrie Jr. repaid the faith shown in him by winning today’s side-by-side stage. It’s Guthrie Jr.’s second stage win of his debut Dakar and the fourth achieved by the OT3 by Overdrive. Guthrie Jr.’s team-mate, Blade Hildebrand (USA), also completed the stage as the Red Bull Off-Road Team USA duo continue in the Dakar Experience class.
“It was a really good day and to have it off the back of yesterday where we had a mechanical feels great. Thankfully, last night Cyril gave me his motor out of his car so I was able to continue. That was an amazing gesture.” – Mitch Guthrie Jr.
In the overall rankings of the SxS race, Chaleco Lopez (CHI) was able to close in on race leader Casey Currie (USA) on Stage 8. Lopez now has four stages to make up the 15 minutes between himself and Currie.
Truck race leader Andrey Karginov (RUS) was able to increase his gap at the top of general classification on Stage 8. 2014 Dakar winner Karginov now leads Kamaz team-mate Anton Shibalov (RUS) by 27 minutes. It’s then over half an hour back to third place Siarhei Viazovich (BLR).
“We want to become better competitors everyday so we're enjoying testing ourselves on new terrain.” – Andrey Karginov
The death of Paulo Gonçalves (POR) during yesterday’s Stage 7 between Riyadh and Wadi Al-Dawasir left the entire Dakar, especially the bikers, in shock. Gonçalves, a beloved figure of the rally, was immensely respected in the bivouac. After meeting the riders and making a decision together with the entire motorbike family, the organisers decided to cancel Stage 8 for the motorbikes and quads category.
On Stage 9 all five Dakar categories will head east across Saudi Arabia to Haradh. A monster distance of 891 kilometres must be travelled, including a 415-kilometre special stage. The 2020 Dakar finishes on Friday, January 17 in Al-Qiddiya.
2020 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after Stage 8)
- Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 31h56m52s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +06m40s
- Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +13m09s
- Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota +32m25S
- Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) MINI Rally +43m02s
2020 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5 (after Stage 8)
- Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 28h25m01s
- Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +24m48s
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI) Honda +27m01s
- Toby Price (AUT) KTM +28m44s
- Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda +29m29s
2020 Dakar Rally Truck Top 5 (after Stage 8)
- Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 34h31m43s
- Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +27m06s
- Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +01h05m17s
- Ales Loprais (CZE) Praga +02h04m27s
- Martin Macik (CZE) Iveco +02h39m22s
2020 Dakar Rally Side-by-side Race Top 3 (after Stage 8)
- Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 39h47m37s
- Chaleco Lopez/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +15m40s
- Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +34m29s
2020 Dakar Rally Quad Race Top 3 (after Stage 8)
- Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 36h12m58s
- Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +36m43s
- Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01h23m31s
Carlos Sainz: “We were all together on the stage, in a group of five with Nasser (Al-Attiyah), Stéphane (Peterhansel), Yazeed (Al Rajhi) and Bernhard (Ten Brinke). To be honest we were not pushing hard. Nasser was opening the road and I didn’t want to pass him when we caught up to him.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “The last part was very difficult with all the dunes. I was opening all the way and everybody was coming in close. The last 50 kilometres was a really big fight. We did a good job and I’m quite happy. It was not easy without the bikes, really difficult, everything is new without any lines, but we did a good job and Mathieu (Baumel, co-driver) navigated well.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “We drove all together for the last 70 kilometres. At the beginning it was Carlos (Sainz) opening the road until he got stuck. Then Nasser (Al-Attiyah) got stuck in the dunes and after that I opened the road for more than 200 kilometres. Only at the end Nasser passed me. Navigation was so tricky that we all reduced the speed.”
Giniel De Villiers: “It was a nice stage, very well balanced. There were some fast sections, but also some difficult dunes with very, very soft sand. It was a lot nicer than the two previous stages that were just flat out.”
Kuba Przygonski: “Today was another stage where we got to drive at top speed. We also had some dunes that were not so easy. Visibility was low so it was not easy to see where we needed to go. We lost two or three minutes for a navigation mistake. Overall, we’re happy with the rhythm on the stage today.”
Mitch Guthrie Jr.: “It was a really good day and to have it off the back of yesterday where we had a mechanical feels great. Thankfully, last night Cyril (Despres) gave me his motor out of his car so I was able to continue. That was an amazing gesture. Now we’re out of the general classification and into the Dakar Experience class so the aim is to pick up more of these stage wins.”
Andrey Karginov: “The start was quick and we overcame the first rocky section with a good rhythm. We understand that we have a healthy lead in the general classification, but we still want to push in a responsible way. We want to become better competitors everyday so we’re enjoying testing ourselves on new terrain.”
Toby Price: “The eight minutes we waited with Paulo (Gonçalves) while the helicopter came felt like the longest eight minutes of my life. It felt like an hour. The guys responded as quickly as they could. It gives me comfort that I was able to stop for him. I remember Paulo stopping for me in 2017 when I broke my leg at Dakar. We’ve lost a great friend and a great competitor.”
Matthias Walkner: “Paulo (Gonçalves) has been a part of our sport for so long. I have many, many nice memories of riding together with him. He was such a friendly guy and very talented on the bike. At this Dakar we saw the passion he had for racing when he was fixing his engine on the stage. He is an inspiration for my generation of riders.”