Monday, January 11, 2016

Second Week of Dakar Starts With New Class Leaders Across the Board

Stage eight saw lead changes at the top of every class and a few contenders suffered major set backs.

The big change came in the car class as Nasser Al-Attiyah won his first stage of this year's Dakar and ended Peugeot's six-stage winning streak. The Mini driver defeated Carlos Sainz by 21 seconds and Stéphane Peterhansel by 31 seconds. Cyril Despres scored his best stage finish with a fourth, four minutes and 40 seconds behind Al-Attiyah. Mikko Hirvonen made it consecutive fifth place finishes. The Finn was six minutes and 42 seconds behind Al-Attiyah. Nani Roma and Orlando Terranova were sixth and seventh. The Spaniard was ten minutes and 11 seconds back and the Argentine was 11 minutes and 37 seconds back. Toyota's Leeroy Poulter and Yazeed Al-Rajhi finished eighth and ninth.  Poulter finished 12 minutes and six seconds back and Al-Rajhi was 14 minutes and 21 seconds back of Al-Attiyah. Erik Van Loon rounded out the top ten, 15 minutes and 16 seconds back.

Sébastien Loeb suffered a major accident when he rolled his Peugeot 18 miles from the end of the stage. The class leading driver entering stage eight and his co-driver Daniel Elena were ok but the car needed a significant amount of repairs and they finished an hour and eight minutes after Al-Attiyah.

Peterhansel assume the lead of the car class after Loeb's disastrous stage and he leads Sainz by two minutes and nine seconds. Al-Attiyah is 14 minutes and 43 seconds back in third and Hirvonen moves up to fourth, over 36 minutes back. Poulter trails by 49 minutes in fifth. Al-Rajhi and Giniel de Villiers are separated by half a minute but both drivers are over 54 minutes behind Peterhansel. Loeb is the first competitor over an hour behind the lead in eighth. Vladimir Vasilyev and Roma round out the top ten, trailing Peterhansel by 68 minutes and 88 minutes respectively.

Toby Price won his fourth stage of this year's Dakar and in doing so the Australian now leads the bike class overall. He defeated Paulo Gonçalves by five minutes and 17 seconds and Pablo Quintanilla by six minutes and 32 seconds. Slovakian Štefan Svitko finished fourth, eight minutes and two seconds behind Price. Kevin Benavides came home in fifth, four seconds behind Svitko. Hélder Rodrigues finished sixth, nine minutes and 19 seconds back. Gerrard Farres finished 10 minutes and 47 seconds back in seventh and Antoine Meo was three seconds back of Farres. Juan Pedrero finished 18 seconds back of Meo and Adrien Van Beveren finished tenth, 15 minutes and seven seconds back. American Ricky Brabec finished 11th, a minute and 37 seconds outside the top ten for the stage.

Price leads Gonçalves by two minutes and five seconds with Svitko 14 minutes and 14 seconds back. Quintanilla, Benavides and Meo are all over twenty minutes behind Price. Rodrigues is the first rider trailing Price by over a half hour. Farres is 37 minutes back and Pedrero trails by 39 minutes. Alain Duclos is tenth, 45 minutes back. Brabec is 11th, 51 minutes behind Price.

Ian Blythe is 29th, two hours and 28 minutes back. Alexander Smith is nearly five hours back in 45th. Scott Bright trails by six hours and 41 minutes in 59th. Carroll Gittere is over ten hours back in 84th.

Marcos Patronelli won stage eight and like Price he took his class lead. The Argentine rider won in the quad class by five minutes and 42 seconds over his brother Alejandro. Alexis Hernandez finished third, nine minutes and 17 seconds back. Lucas Bonetto was fourth, 39 seconds behind Hernandez. Sergei Karyakin finished 16 minutes and 41 seconds back in fifth.

Marcos leads overall by two minutes and six seconds over Alejandro. Hernandez trails by 32 minutes in third. Karyakin is 43 minutes back in fourth. Jeremias González rounds out the top five by 46 minutes.

Gerard de Rooy won stage eight and took the truck class lead. The Dutch driver beat Eduard Nikolaev by two minutes and 35 seconds. Andrey Karginov finished five minutes and 23 seconds behind de Rooy in third. Jaroslav Valtr scored his best finish of this year's Dakar, as the Czech driver was fourth, 13 minutes and 38 seconds behind de Rooy. Dmitry Sotnikov was nine seconds behind Valtr. Federico Villagra was sixth, 14 minutes and 35 seconds back and Hans Stacey finished seventh, 14 seconds behind Villagra.

De Rooy will take a seven-minute and 58-second lead into stage nine over Nikolaev. Pieter Versluis dropped from the class lead to third, 13 minutes and 29 seconds behind de Rooy after finishing tenth on stage eight, 19 minutes behind his fellow countryman. Stacey trails by over twenty minutes in fourth. Airat Mardeev is 22 minutes back in fifth.

Stage nine will start and finish in Bélen.