Dakar 2015: report stage 8 bikes/quads (video)

dakar_2015_report_stage8bikes_uk1Yesterday we saw maybe the most dramatic bike stage of Dakar 2015. The return from Bolivia, with modified route because of the bad weather, was marked with new big winners and several big losers.

Although he was unlucky on his first two participations on the Dakar, fortune yesterday smiled on Pablo Quintanilla. The Chilean won his first special stage in Dakar 2015 and climbs onto the provisional podium in the general standings, a classification dominated by Marc Coma, who boasts a solid lead on his favourite rally and who is more than ever the favourite to succeed himself.

Pablo Quintanilla’s career probably changed dimension between Uyuni and Iquique. From a quick and consistent outsider since the start of the rally, the Chilean has taken on the status of stage winner and pretender for final victory on the Dakar. This change owes nothing to chance given the KTM rider’s steady improvement over the last several days and the return of the rally to his home country was an opportunity that Quintanilla could not pass up. However, for the start of the final sprint over 38 km after an eventful first part of the special on the salt lake in Uyuni, shortened due to the weather conditions, Stefan Svitko and Juan Pedrero appeared to be better placed to experience glory. Separated by one second, the two men finally saw victory escape them in the final dunes, to the benefit of the third placed rider in the general standings of Dakar 2015.

Stage 8 – Bike/Quad – Stage Summary – (Uyuni… by Dakar

However, they should console themselves with finishing in such high places on a stage which was fatal for the ambitions of several favourites. With the exits from the race of Alessandro Botturi, Michael Metge, Daniel Gouet and Jordi Viladoms, four members of the top 20 of Dakar 2015 said goodbye to the rally. The top 6 has again been shaken up by the nightmare days experienced by Joan Barreda (towed over most of the stage by Israel Esquerre) and Helder Rodrigues. The two Honda riders lost more than three hours and kissed goodbye to their dreams of victory in Buenos Aires.

Stage / Etapa / Etape 8 – Top Moment – (Uyuni… by Dakar

dakar_2015_report_stage8bikes_uk2This was a godsend for Marc Coma who, with his characteristic experience and intelligence, did not tempt fate and made sure he got to Iquique with a 9th placed finish. The day’s top 10 also plays host to the solid Toby Price, the incredible Laia Sanz (5th for the day), who enjoyed her best performance on Dakar 2015, getting closer and closer to the first stage victory by a lady rider, as well as Xavier De Soultrait who confirmed his medium term ambitions with his best performance so far in Iquique (6th).

At the age of only 19 years, Jeremias González Ferioli is without doubt the future of the quad category. The young Argentinean has not wasted time in picking up his first victory on the Dakar, an accomplishment he achieved in Iquique on completion of one of the hardest stages on the Dakar 2015. He beat Ignacio Casale who nonetheless can be happy with his performance the day after a complicated stage for the Chilean, who took advantage of a below-par showing from Rafal Sonik, 21’42 behind the stage winner, to regain the lead in the general standings.

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