Monday was a good day for Nacho Cornejo, Nasser Al-Attiyah, and Chaleco Lopez, as the Marathon stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally wrapped up with racers heading from Sakaka to Neom. The trio won the motorcycle, car, and SSV classes on the day, respectively, with Cornejo leading his class overall and Al-Attiyah and Lopez both second in their divisions with just four races remaining.
The Marathon stage forces racers to forego any aid from their race teams for one night, and represented an opportunity for Cornejo to extend the lead of just one second that he carried over Toby Price into the day. He managed to do just that, but in spite of entering the day with a badly damaged tire held together by cables and zip ties, Price somehow managed to finish second in the stage at just 1:05 back. Defending motorcycle winner Ricky Brabec was third on stage, continuing his climb back up the overall charts, where he now sits sixth.
Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel have spent most of the rally separated by under 10 minutes in the car class, and the gap sits at 4:50 after Al-Attiyah’s fifth stage win of the year enabled him to make up another three minutes on the lead. Carlos Sainz split Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel on today’s podium, but remains more than half an hour back of either. Sebastien Loeb, meanwhile, finally called it quits on a trying event after another bad day at the office, finally leaving the race course and heading to Neom by road after multiple punctures.
Lopez swept both days of the Marathon stage in the SSV class, coming in just under a minute ahead of Sergei Kariakin for the victory. He’s now second in the T4 division after mechanical gremlins slowed down incoming leader Aron Domzala, but it’s American Austin Jones who tops the class now thanks to a fifth place finish on the day. In the T3 lightweight prototypes, fellow American Seth Quintero’s quest for Dakar glory continues with another stage win and a lead that now exceeds two hours. He’s also second-fastest among UTVs in both divisions, behind only Jones.
Alexandre Giroud locked up another stage win on the quads to pull within 20 minutes of Manuel Andujar in the overall standings, while the Kamaz team continues to dominate with Anton Shibalov on top of the stage and Dmitry Sotnikov continuing to lead the overall. Kilian Revuelta scored a surprise stage win in the Dakar Classic division, but overall leader Marc Douton was still second on the day to keep padding a four-figure advantage in the point standings.
Tomorrow’s Neom loop stage starts on the edge of the Red Sea, and features 465 kilometers of special stages to 109 kilometers of transit. Coverage of the past two days of action airs on NBCSN at 6PM ET/3PM PT, starting with the first half of the Marathon stage from Ha’il to Sakaka before picking up with today’s recap.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Winners
- Motorcycle: Nacho Cornejo, 3:08:40
- Quad: Alexandre Giroud, 4:20:40
- Car: Nasser Al-Attiyah, 2:56:56
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 3:44:05
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 3:37:45
- Truck: Anton Shibalov, 3:19:40
- Classic: Kilian Revuelta, 27 points
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|1st||J. I. Cornejo Florimo||M. Andujar||S. Peterhansel||A. Jones||D. Sotnikov|
|2nd||T. Price||A. Giroud||N. Al-Attiyah||S. Quintero||A. Shibalov|
|3rd||S. Sunderland||G. Enrico||C. Sainz||F. Lopez Contardo||A. Mardeev|
|4th||K. Benavides||P. Copetti||J. Przygonski||A. Domzala||A. Loprais|
|5th||J. Barreda Bort||I. Pedemonte||N. Roma||S. Kariakin||M. Macik|