2017 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Results & Video Recap
Heavy Bolivian rain showers on Tuesday continued to affect the 2017 Dakar Rally. It all began Saturday when tumultuous storms canceled stage 6 in Bolivia, which was plagued by drought the past few months. This was followed by a rest day on Sunday, and a shortened Monday stage due to flooded roadways.
The same type of flood conditions affected Tuesday’s marathon stage 8, which featured two specials, and was originally scheduled to take competitors 554 miles from Uyuni, Bolivia, to Salta, Argentina, including a 306-mile special. Due to a overflowing river crossing in Bolivia, the stage was shortened by 45 miles.
Regardless of the muddy terrain and standing-water issues, Monster Energy Honda Team’s Joan Barreda was quickest of the 110 riders that started in Uyuni Tuesday morning. The Spaniard became the only rider to win two stage victories so far during 2017 Dakar, his other claimed after stage 3.
Barreda finished the stage 3:51 minutes ahead of Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team Matthias Walkner, and 3:54 ahead of Walkner’sKTM 450 Rally teammate Sam Sunderland, both stage winners this year.
Though the CRF450 Rally pilot is the most successful stage winner, a few mistakes put places him ninth overall in the standings, 1 hour 10:53 minutes behind Sunderland. The Brit Sunderland has a 20:58 minute lead over Husqvarna Factory Rally Team’s Pablo Quintanilla, and 28:49 over Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren.
Speaking after the stage, Barreda said: “There were a lot dangers out there at the start of the special. A lot of water, a lot of mud and mist to make the visibility more complicated. But I got to enjoy the final 300 kilometers and I was able to open the throttle a bit more. By the end, the tires had taken a fair beating from the marathon stage and were skidding a lot. But it was great fun to finish at the front and with the best time too.”
Overall leader Sunderland said: “It started off really muddy this morning, as you know. We spoke before, I think, and it was really, really wet and really difficult to pass in some places. I stopped a few times to change my goggles and change my gloves and silly things, just because it was too much.
“I couldn’t see the road-book. I couldn’t see where I was going. I figured it would be better to stop and change my goggles and then carry on, rather than trying to push when you can’t see. It’s been a long stage. The second part was going good, but then it was a bit frustrating. I was crossing a river full of stones and I managed to clip the rear disk and bent the disk, so for the last one hundred kilometers I had no rear brake which makes things a little bit interesting on a surface like this, a kind of WRC-style hard-pack that was really slippery.
“I had a few scary moments with the braking, but I tried to keep in mind that I had no rear brake. Sure, I lost a bit of time there, but I’m just trying to finish each day safe. I think that’s the most important thing. I’m happy to finish the second day of the marathon stage. I don’t want to think about victory at all. We’ve got a long way to go and the state of the overall standings can change in one day. You can lose so much time. I think that’s the Dakar – everybody is going to have problems at some point and I think it’s how you manage them, how you can stay safe and try to not lose such big, big amounts of time. I think you win it on the bad days, not on the good days.”
As for the sole American, stage 7 winner Ricky Brabec finished 12th in 2017 Dakar Rally stage 8, and is 12th overall, 1 hour 52:34 minutes behind Sunderland.
“Today was long and this morning was rough,” Brabec said. “The fog was so bad that you couldn’t see more than two meters ahead of you. That played a big part in trying to open the stage. The rain over the last few days had completely washed away the tracks. It was difficult for sure. I went down in the sand trying to clean my goggles. You’ve got to clean your goggles every thirty seconds to get vision. Paulo was next to me and we rode together and had fun. It was a long day.”
Late on Tuesday, Dakar officials canceled stage 9 due to the same rain-flooding issues. Stage 9 was originally scheduled to take riders 608 miles from Salta to Chilecito, Argentina, which included a 252-mile special. The 2017 Dakar Rally continues Thursday with stage 10, which will take riders 467 miles from Chilecito to San Juan, with a 279-mile special.
2017 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Results:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 04:28:21
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 04:32:12, +03:51
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 04:32:15, +03:54
4. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, 04:32:46, +04:25
5. Joan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, 04:34:21, +06:00
6. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 04:35:27, +07:06
2017 Dakar Rally Overall Results (after eight of 12 stages):
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 22:01:08
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 22:22:06, +20:58
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 22:29:57, +28:49
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 22:35:22, +34:14
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 22:35:32, +34:24