2021 Dakar Stage 8: Al-Attiyah closes gap and Price performs a miracle
Toyota HiLux driver Nasser Al-Attiyah closes gap to Stephane Peterhansel on 2021 Dakar Stage 8, while Aussie bike racer Toby Price finishes in second despite damaged rear tyre.
2021 Dakar Stage 8 was the second Marathon stage from Sakaka to Neom. In the Marathon competitors cover a total of two days and 1446km without any support from their crews.
In the Car category, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) came home first in his V8-powered HiLux ahead of X-Raid Mini JCW Team drivers Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel, who completed the stage with second and third fastest times respectively. Al-Attiyah has now closed the gap to overall leader Peterhansel, who he trails by just 4m 50s.
“We tried to do our best from yesterday to today,” Al-Attiyah said. “The marathon day is not easy. I’m really quite happy: my car is in one piece after yesterday and today! In some places we really pushed a lot just to keep pace with the buggies. It’s not easy, but I’m quite happy to finish the marathon stage.”
Nacho Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team 2021) took another stage win in the Bike category, but the big news was the fact that Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) managed to finish with the second fastest time despite riding on a severely damaged rear tyre he had repaired the night before with race tape and cable ties. The fact the bush repair lasted for the 334km Liason and the 375km Special is simply amazing.
“I tried to fix it with a bit of rope, which only lasted probably 25km and then my last zip tie was probably around the 200km mark,” a very relieved Price said at the end of the stage. “It was a pretty sleepless night last night, I kind of thought my race was done. Looking at the tyre, it looked like it really wouldn’t have much life left in it. Surprisingly enough, that tyre has done a full day of stage and liason, and I think it’s like a total of 800km like this now, so it’s remarkable that it held together… we are here and we’re still in the race.”
Last year’s event winner, Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team 2021), came home with the third fastest time. Price retains second overall after the Marathon stages, just 1m 06s behind Cornejo, with Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) in third.
Of the other Aussie riders, Daniel Sanders (KTM Factory Team) finished the stage in seventh (despite a badly cut chin from a crash the day before) and is now in eighth overall; Michael Burgess (BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team) finished in 33rd (now 35th overall); and Andrew Houlihan (Nomadas Adventure) finished in 61st (now 58th overall).
In the Trucks, the Kamaz – Master team had another stage hat trick, with Anton Shibalov finishing ahead of Dmitry Sotnikov and Andrey Karginov. Sotnikov still leads overall ahead of Shibalov and Mardeev (Kamaz – Master).