During Stage 8 of the 2011 Dakar Rally, Over the long 508 km special, from Antofagasta to Copiapo, victory went to Marc Coma, 1’55 ahead of Cyril Despres on his Red Bull KTM, with Chaleco Lopez third at 4’21. Overall Coma increases his lead to 9’19 over Cyril with Lopez now at 22’48.
Cyril Despres (KTM 450) says: "Although I tried as hard as I could to avoid the outcome of today’s special it was all too predictable. Chaleco (Lopez) started first this morning, I caught him and then we were both caught by Marc (Coma).
"Chaleco made an effort to open the piste but I ended up doing most of the work and Marc followed us to protect his lead. The only point of satisfaction is that right at the end of the stage I managed to break away and cross the finish line ahead of them.
"Tomorrow we have a mass start, with the 10 leading riders starting together, and again it will be difficult to make the break. But again you can be certain I will give it my all to pull back the time."
2011 Dakar Stage 8 Results
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 6:05:02
2. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 1:55
3. Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 4:21
4. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 8:38
5. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, 25:03