The Dakar 2021 marathon day ended on a high note for the Monster Energy Honda Team. The team posted fine results, led by a José Ignacio Cornejo, who not only clinched the stage but also consolidated his position at the head of the overall standings.

Today the stage got off to a very tough start from the Sakaka bivouac, where the riders had stayed yesterday without any help from their mechanics. All the Honda CRF450 RALLYs had arrived yesterday in healthy shape after an arduous stage and were all ready to line up again this morning for the eighth stage of the Dakar. The stage featured 375 kilometres of timed special on mainly hard gravel and sandy tracks with the cold temperatures giving way to the heat and strong winds blowing at the Neom bivouac.

Nacho Cornejo gave a master class in navigation. The Chilean Monster Energy Honda Team rider got off to a storming start and, after catching up with team-mate Ricky Brabec – yesterday’s winner – the pair headed west together to the end of the special, opening the track with a scorching pace. Cornejo claimed the spoils at the end of the special, further consolidating his position as overall race leader. In doing so, the rider from Iquique increases the advantage over the nearest second-placed rival to over a minute.

Behind, Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda, who started out from further back, recorded some good times without overly-exerting their bikes. The result leaves them in positions to attack tomorrow in a new stage that should allow the duo to claw back several minutes from their rivals.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, sees the second scheduled looping stage of this edition of the Dakar. The 579-kilometre Neom-Neom stage will have one of the highest ratios of timed special stage with 465 kilometres against the clock. Setting off from the shores of the Red Sea, riders can look forward to another day of demanding navigation over sandy tracks.

Ricky Brabec 1

STAGE: 3rd OVERALL: 6th

Today was the second part of the marathon. We did good today. We did good yesterday. We opened the whole stage. Nacho caught me around refuelling at kilometre 229. The second part of the special was 115 km. Nacho and I rode together and just worked it out with good team work. We went really fast. Yesterday we did well, but I was scared that we would have to open. We rode well today. I’m kicking myself in the head. I wish we’d had the speed and the focus last week. We are fighting and we are stronger now. There’s four days left. It’s the same part of the desert that helped me last year. Hopefully somewhere we can pull out time. There’s four days and a lot of things will change. Everyone has used tyres. Tyre cuts are going to be a factor. Bike fatigue. Rider fatigue. Everything is going to start playing in. The finish is really close. It’s not that close in kilometres. There’s four days left. Let’s try and keep the focus and push.

José Ignacio Cornejo 4

STAGE: 1st OVERALL: 1st

Today I came second behind my partner and friend Ricky and it has tough to catch him up. He was opening very fast and I finally caught him and we opened the track at a very good pace. Congratulations to Ricky because he did very well. The idea was not to win, but it was very difficult to keep the other riders in check behind as they were very far from us. Now, I’ve got a bit of an advantage over the second-placed rider overall but the times are still very tight, so we have to continue with the same concentration. We will try to finish the job well, tomorrow we will try to open as cleanly as we can, and drop as little time as possible.

Kevin Benavides 47

STAGE: 5th OVERALL: 4th

In the second part of the marathon stage, I started from behind trying to look after the bike and finish well in these final stages. Yesterday, I had a very good stage, I was going to win but in the end I lost about 10 minutes which is why I came out pushing hard today. This stage was not to make much differences as it was a very fast stage. The truth is that I didn’t really enjoy these two marathon stages over very fast and broken-up terrain. Now, the important thing is that the bike is fine and tomorrow we have to continue more focused than ever to give it our best shot over the final four days.

Joan Barreda 88

STAGE: 6th OVERALL: 5th

The second part of the marathon stage was quite difficult. There were tracks with a lot of rocks and the truth is that it was dangerous. Yesterday, I took a strong blow to the front wheel and that is why today I decided to take care of things. At refuelling I realized that the gaps were small and I tried to keep a stable pace. I also saw Xavier De Soultrait fall and I lost my concentration there a little and I lost a bit of time over the next few kilometres. The result is not bad at all because tomorrow we start from further back, so we will try to make up some time.

2021 Dakar
Stage Round DAK21   Dakar

Results Stage 8

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Cornejo José Ignacio 4 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 03:08'40
2 Price Toby 3 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:01'05
3 Brabec Ricky 1 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:02'50
4 Sunderland Sam 5 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:03'46
5 Benavides Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:05'29
6 Barreda Joan 88 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:05'47
7 Sanders Daniel 21 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:06'29
8 Walkner Matthias 52 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:06'32
9 Howes Skyler 9 USA BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM KTM +00:06'53
10 Bühler Sebastian 24 POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +00:07'58
2021 Dakar
Stage Round DAK21   Dakar

Provisional Standings after Stage 8

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Cornejo José Ignacio 4 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 32:00'11
2 Price Toby 3 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:01:06
3 Sunderland Sam 5 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:05'57
4 Benavides Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:12'58
5 Barreda Joan 88 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:16'05
6 Brabec Ricky 1 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00:17'42
7 Howes Skyler 9 USA BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM KTM +00:19'20
8 Sanders Daniel 21 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +00:22'40
9 Santolino Lorenzo 15 SPA Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +00:26'59
10 Quintanilla Pablo 2 CHI Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +00:38'41

Quotes Stage 8 Rally Dakar 2021


Highlights Stage 8 Rally Dakar 2021

Location Information

Dakar in Saudi From 2020

Records

Dakar 2020 winner Ricky Brabec (Honda)
Dakar 2021 winner Kevin Benavides (Honda)