In the eighth stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally, Audi won its second stage on Monday thanks to Mattias Ekstrom, while Nasser Al-Attiyah’s troubles gave an advantage to Sebastien Loeb in the overall standings.
On the 395km Stage 8 between Al Dawadimi and Wadi Ad Dawasir, Mattias Ekstrom and Stephane Peterhansel traded the lead for most of the race which only Sebastien Loeb prevented the Audi dominance.
However, the win was not easy as Ekstrom slipped over three minutes behind the third Audi of Carlos Sainz on Waypoint 8 of 10. Peterhansel was the race leader and appeared on track for his 49th career stage win in the cars category.
However, Peterhansel’s lead was short-lived and Ekstrom retook the lead as a result of his rapid running during the final 73km to the finish line. He won the Dakar stage in only his second participation in the race after finishing barely 49s ahead of Peterhansel to give Audi its first Dakar 1-2 result, with Sainz finishing fourth in the last RS Q e-tron.
Sebastien Loeb, the Prodrive/Bahrain driver, battled back from an early puncture to take the lead at Waypoints 4 and 5, but couldn’t keep up with the Audis later in the stage, finishing third 3m08s behind the leaders. The Frenchman was able to cut into Al Attiyah’s lead after the Qatari finished 11th due to technical issues and a puncture.
The three-time Dakar champion was forced to drive the car on a two-wheel drive system because his factory Toyota’s back differential overheated losing more than ten minutes to stage winner Ekstrom. With four stages remaining in the rally, his lead in the general classification has been trimmed to 37m58s.
As technical issues relegated Al-Attiyah to 11th, Henk Lategan finished fifth, just 3m20s behind the leader in his Hilux T1+.
After finishing 10th in Stage 8, Yazeed Al Rajhi still holds third place overall in the Overdrive Toyota, behind Al Attiyah and Loeb. Al Rajhi’s teammate Lucio Alvarez had a difficult stage, which vaulted Jakub Przygosnki (X-raid Mini) and Orlando Terranova into fourth and fifth in the general classification.
Giniel de Villiers is eighth in the second factory Toyota, while Ekstrom’s victory has moved him up to 11th overall heading into the ninth stage near Wadi Ad Dawasir on Tuesday.
Here are the stage winners and top three in each category after stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2022:
Stage 8 Winner: Matthias Ekstrom (Sweden) 3:43:21. General: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 27:45:52; 2. Sebastien Loeb (France), Bahrain Raid Extreme, 28:23:50; 3. Yazid Al Raji (ACS), Overdrive Toyota, 28:39:05.
Stage 8 Winner: Sam Sunderland (UK) 3:48:02. General: 1. Sam Sunderland (UK), GasGas Factory Racing, 27:38:42; 2. Mathias Walkner (Australia), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 27:42:27; 3. Adrien Van Beveren (France), Monster Energy Yamaha rally team, 27:43:25. Other notable U.S. personalities: 10. Mason Klein, BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team, 28:14:08; 11. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 28:15:36; 13. Ricky Brabeck, Monster Energy Honda, 28:18:40. Photographed: Skyler Hawes, Husqvarna Factory Racing.
Stage 8 Winner: Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), 3:56:42. General: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), Kamaz-Master 30:02:36; 2. Eduard Nikolaev (RAF) Kamaz-Master 30:14:01; 3. Anton Shibalov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 30:42:59.
Stage 8 Winner: Seth Quintero (USA) 4:17:14. General: 1. Francisco Lopez Kontardo (KHL), EX – South Racing, 32:51:39; 2. Sebastian Eriksson (Sweden), EKS – South Racing, 34:10:40; 3. Fernando Alvarez (ESP), South Racing Can-Am, 35:47:09. Remarkable: 8. Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA, 48:30:18.
Stage 8 Winner: Marek Gochal (Poland) 4:36:14. General: 1. Austin Jones (USA), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 34:12:38; 2. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 34:19:16; 2. Michal Gotsal (Poland), rally team Cobant-Energylandia, 34:27:27.
Stage 8 Winner: Alexandre Giroud (France), 5:02:08. General: 1.Alexander Giroud (France), Yamaha Racing – SMX-Drag’on, 34:41:02; 2. Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports / Yamaha Rally Team, 35:11:49; 3. Kamil Wisniewski (Poland), Orlen Team, 36:53:13.