Posted on January 12, 2015

After a day’s break from racing the bike and quad race of the Dakar fired back into life today. Competitors in these two categories left the bivouac in Iquique at 05:00am for the first leg of a marathon stage that takes them to Bolivia and back.

The challenges presented by today’s stage centred on tricky navigation and mechanical management combined with the threat of altitude sickness at 3,500 metres above sea level. Coping best with the conditions was four-time Dakar champ Marc Coma who was able to gain six minutes on overall leader Joan Barreda who crashed and broke his handlebars on the road to Uyuni. All riders will now spend tonight in a special marathon stage bivouac for bike and quad competitors as the race rules dictate that they can receive no outside mechanical assistance until after tomorrow’s second leg.

On the way back from Uyuni, the trucks were the first to return to the Iquique bivouac and they did so in spectacular fashion as they descended from a final 1,000m dune to complete their own two-day marathon stage. Emerging with the quickest time in the category was Eduard Nikolaev as he made it five stage wins out of eight. However, a turbocharger problem on the previous day means that Nikolaev trails his fellow Kamaz Master driver and race leader Ayrat Mardeev by 13 minutes as the mechanics take charge of the trucks for tomorrow’s rest day.

No rest day for the Desert Wings 2 [].jpgThe car race proceeded on its own separate path today as the convoy returned from Bolivia via a smooth white road of salt. The preferred tactic for crossing the giant salt flat was NASCAR freight-train style racing. Making the most of the marathon days was South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers who has managed to shave three minutes off the overall lead of Nasser Al-Attiyah in the last 48 hours. Both leading drivers now have plenty to ponder on the rest day and can expect a visit from 2015 Red Bull Frozen Rush champion and three-time Baja 500 winner American Bryce Menzies as he drops into the Dakar bivouac.

Results of SS8 (Cars):
1. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU) Toyota 3h 26m 49s
2. Orlando Terranova (ARG) Mini +00:01:12
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Qatar Rally Team +00:02:36
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) Toyota +00:02:49
7. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +00:03:46
20. Marek Dabrowski (POL) Toyota +00:26:18
27. Cyril Despres (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +00:39:57

No rest day for the Desert Wings 3 [].jpgResults of SS7 (Bikes):
1. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 3h 56m 00s
2. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM +00:00:14
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM +00:00:30
6. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT) Honda +00:04:05
11. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM +00:06:10
12. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda +00:06:13
14. Ruben Faria (POR) KTM +00:06:41
28. Kuba Przygonski (POL) KTM +00:19:58

Results of SS8 (Trucks):
1. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz 3h 25m 47s
2. Gerard de Rooy (NLD) Iveco +00:11:16
3. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +00:14:58
5. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) Kamaz +00:32:02
9. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +01:02:25