Pablo Quintanilla posted second place today at the finish-line in Wadi Ad-Dawasir, clawing back time and setting up the chance of making the top step of the final podium. Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec was fourth on the day.
The Dakar Rally heads into its final stretch and today, with the lengthiest stage of this edition, at 830 km, the mileage count takes a hefty leap forward. On the agenda were 395 kilometres of special stage across the southern part of Saudi Arabia, with plenty of sand and a lot of dunes to be tackled. From Al Dawadimi it was on to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, on a day featuring more kilometres of link section than special stage. The most southerly located bivouac in this Dakar will be the destination for two stages: tomorrow, a new looping stage will see competitors charter territory in the vast Empty Quarter.
Pablo Quintanilla was the best placed representative from the Monster Energy Honda Team on today’s stage, although most of the riders performed well on the eighth stage of the Dakar 2022. Pablo reached the bivouac in second place, less than three minutes behind the day’s winner. Ricky Brabec also set a fierce pace, registering the day’s fourth best time, 6’44” behind Sunderland. Tomorrow, the American should be able to use tomorrow’s position to his advantage to gnaw into the time of his direct rivals.
Nacho Cornejo got lumbered with the unpleasant task of opening the track today after winning yesterday’s stage. The young Chilean rode well until the latter part of the day, when a minor navigation error caused him to slip back, losing a little more time than expected. Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate Joan Barreda took a tumble on a dune early in the special that left him in some pain throughout the day. The rider still managed to finish ninth in RallyGP with a 12 minutes deficit. The Spaniard is fifth overall, 14’38” behind the race leader.
The Wadi Ad-Dawasir loop, some 491 kilometres in total, including 287 kilometres of timed special stage, will pass through a fairly unfamiliar area: the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Mountains and tracks between canyons will require a radically different riding style to the approach used until now. Less sand, but higher difficulty level, especially regarding the navigation.
Results Stage 8 -RallyGP-
|1||Sunderland Sam||3||GBR||Gas Gas Factory Team||Gas Gas||03:48'02|
|2||Quintanilla Pablo||7||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:02'53|
|3||Walkner Matthias||52||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:04'11|
|4||Brabec Ricky||2||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:06'44|
|5||Price Toby||18||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:08'39|
|6||Benavides Luciano||77||ARG||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||+00:09'32|
|7||Rodrigues Joaquim||27||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+00:09'58|
|8||Van Beveren Adrien||42||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:10'21|
|10||Svitko Stefan||142||SLO||Slovnaft Rally Team||KTM||+00:12'11|
|11||Short Andrew||29||USA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:14'22|
|12||Benavides Kevin||1||ARG||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:15'02|
|13||Gonçalves Rui||19||POR||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+00:15'15|
|14||Cornejo José Ignacio||11||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:17'22|
|15||Michek Martin||10||CZE||Orion Moto Racing Group||KTM||+00:19'26|
Provisional Standings after Stage 8 -RallyGP-
|1||Sunderland Sam||3||GBR||Gas Gas Factory Team||Gas Gas||27:38'42|
|2||Walkner Matthias||52||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:03'45|
|3||Van Beveren Adrien||42||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:04'43|
|4||Quintanilla Pablo||7||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:05'30|
|6||Benavides Kevin||1||ARG||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:14'47|
|7||Santolino Lorenzo||15||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+00:21'09|
|8||Svitko Stefan||142||SLO||Slovnaft Rally Team||KTM||+00:26'51|
|9||Price Toby||18||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:32'30|
|10||Short Andrew||29||USA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:36'54|
|11||Cornejo José Ignacio||11||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:38'21|
|12||Brabec Ricky||2||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:39'58|
|Dakar in Saudi||From 2020|
|Dakar 2020 winner||Ricky Brabec (Honda)|
|Dakar 2021 winner||Kevin Benavides (Honda)|