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Dakar Rally 2019: Loeb wins Stage 8 and Attiyah extends his championship lead

January 16, 2019, 06:42 PM IST by Bilal Ahmed Firfiray
Dakar Rally 2019: Loeb wins Stage 8 and Attiyah extends his championship lead

The Stage 8 witnessed a group start with top 10 cars starting the race along with top 10 bikes and five trucks. The meant that Sebastien Loeb – who finished 11th in the previous stage – started the stage almost two hours behind the competitors. However, his flawless run with an unmatched pace saw him cross the finish line with a time of 3:54:53 seconds, thus winning the eight stage. 

Loeb dropped three minutes behind Attiyah in the opening section of the 575km San Juan de Marcona to Pisco stage. But the WRC champion paced through the last section finishing the stage 7 minutes and 27 seconds clear of the Kuwaiti. Al-Attiyah – after his second finish in Stage 8 – has now expanded his overall lead in the general classification by over 46 minutes and 29 seconds. Jakub Przygonski overcame his gearbox trouble and came third behind Attiyah. 

Nani Roma’s consistent performance (and finishing fifth in Stage 8) has helped in retain his second position in the general classification. Meanwhile, even after losing considerable time in the Ica dunes, Giniel De Villiers managed to finish fourth in Stage 8. Previous stage winner, Stephen Peterhansel was stuck in dunes twice and it made a drastic impact on his overall standing. The 13-time Dakar winner finished eighth in the stage while his overall position slipped down to fourth, behind Loeb. 

Stage 8 was one of the toughest stages of Dakar 2019 as all top runners were stuck in the Dunes of Ica. Defending champion Carlos Sainz had started the stage ahead of the competition and was fastest at the second checkpoint but he needed a lot of help to get going after being stuck and finished the stage in 22nd place. Cyril Despres was another Mini driver who became a victim of treacherous dunes and he crossed the finish line in the 17th position. But the five-time bike champion has managed to retain his fifth position on the overall leaderboard and he is 2:15:27 seconds behind race leader Al-Attiyah.

With just two more stages to go, Nasser Al-Attiyah draws ever closer to a historic first-ever Toyota title. 

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