DAK Horacio Cabilla

Sunderland Bounces Back, Ekstrom Scores Surprise Win in Stage 8 of 2022 Dakar Rally

Sam Sunderland regained the overall motorcycle lead of the 2022 Dakar Rally just as quickly as he had lost it with a victory in Stage 8’s trek from Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir. Sunderland finished the 395 kilometers of special stage action in 3:48:02, nearly three minutes faster than any other rider, and jumped back from fourth to first after incoming leader Adrien Van Beveren’s ninth place stage finish. Van Beveren slid back to third, with 2018 event winner Matthias Walkner now splitting them.

DAK Horacio Cabilla

224 Ekstrom Mattias (swe), Bergvist Emil (swe), Team Audi Sport, Audi RS Q e-tron, Auto FIA T1/T2, action during the Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2022 between Al Dawadimi and Wadi Ad Dawasir, on January 10th 2022 in Wadi Ad Dawasir, Saudi Arabia

Most of Monday’s stage winners were either the overall leaders of the event (such as Dmitry Sotnikov in the trucks and Alexandre Giroud on quads), or the drivers who have been dominating stage victories throughout (like Seth Quintero in Light Prototype or Marek Goczal in SSV), but the day did have one bona fide surprise winner. Mattias Ekstrom’s second Dakar appearance saw him step up from the Light Prototype class to an Audi RS Q e-tron, and the former DTM and World Rallycross champion paid that off with his first stage victory today over teammate and Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel.

DAK Florent Gooden DPPI

201 Al-Attiyah Nasser (qat), Baumel Batthieu (fra), Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+, Auto FIA T1/T2, W2RC, action during the Stage 4 of the Dakar Rally 2022 between Al Qaysumah and Riyadh, on January 5th 2022 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Sebastien Loeb completed the day’s podium in the car class, allowing him to slice nearly 10 minutes off of Nasser Al-Attiyah’s overall advantage with just four stages remaining as Al-Attiyah placed 11th on the day. Al-Attiyah’s advantage of 37:58 is only surpassed by Chaleco Lopez’s 1:19:01 lead over EKS South Racing teammate Sebastian Eriksson in Light Prototype. Sunderland’s 3:45 lead over Walkner on the bikes and Austin Jones’ 6:38 advantage over Gerard Farres in SSVs are the thinnest leading margins.

2022 Dakar Rally Stage 8 winners were as follows:

  • Bikes: Sam Sunderland (GBR), 3:48:02
  • Cars: Mattias Ekstrom (SWE), 3:43:21
  • Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 3:56:42
  • Quads: Alexandre Giroud (FRA), 5:02:08
  • Light Prototype: Seth Quintero (USA), 4:17:14
  • SSV: Marek Goczal (POL), 4:36:14
DAK Frédéric Le Floch DPPI

500 Sotnikov Dmitry (rus), Akhmadeev Ruslan (rus), Akhmetzianov Ilgiz (rus), Kamaz-Master, Kamaz 43509, T5 FIA Camion, action during the Stage 6 of the Dakar Rally 2022 around Riyadh, on January 7th 2022 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

2022 Dakar Rally overall leaders after Stage 8 are as follows:

  • Bikes: Sam Sunderland (GBR), 27:38:42
  • Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), 27:45:52
  • Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 30:02:36
  • Quads: Alexandre Giroud (FRA), 34:41:02
  • Light Prototype: Chaleco Lopez (CHL), 32:51:39
  • SSV: Austin Jones (USA), 34:12:38

The Dakar Rally remains in Wadi Ad Dawasir on Tuesday with a 287-kilometer loop stage that balances a later start with challenging mountain terrain. Coverage of Stage 8 will air on the Olympic Channel tonight at 8PM ET, with extended highlights also streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.