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Stage 8: Salta, Argentina To Calama, Chile

The last person you would want behind you in the race for the overall win at Dakar would be Stephane Peterhansel. Going for his 12th Dakar win this year, Stephane has the most victories of anyone in the rally.

Today’s bivouac was a wind-blown mess of dust and dirt.

Author: Craig Perronne Photos: Courtesy ASO

The last person you would want behind you in the race for the overall win at Dakar would be Stephane Peterhansel. Going for his 12th Dakar win this year, Stephane has the most victories of anyone in the rally. Some have been wondering if Nani Roma has been successfully pacing Stephane and keeping his 30-minute cushion ahead of him or if Peterhansel has been stalking Roma waiting for the right time to strike.

Stephane Peterhansel was able to significantly cut into Nani Roma’s overall lead with a second place finish on the stage.

On Stage 8 Peterhansel was able to capitalize on Nani’s misfortune and chew dangerously into his overall lead. Nani suffered two punctures pushing him back into sixth for the day while Peterhansel was able to charge hard and take second. “It’s true that the special was quick, even if it wasn’t very complicated,” commented Stephane. “Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz were driving very, very quickly and I found it difficult to keep pace. That said, in the end, it’s not such a bad result at all, because Nani Roma had two punctures so we’ve gained some time back on him and have put some pressure on him. It’s never easy to be in the lead, I know all about it, and being in front for Nani is an extra bit of pressure. Behind him, we have nothing to lose, but when you’re in front, you have everything to lose.” Nani’s lead over Peterhansel has now been whittled down to a scant 23 minutes and 46 seconds.

Nasser Al-Attiyah was the first to the finish today taking the stage win.

Taking the win today and proving his speed in another MINI today was Nasser Al-Attiyah. While the one-hour penalty he received for missing a waypoint on a stage has eliminated any chance he had of an overall win, Nasser still has his eyes on the third spot of the podium. “I’m still a little bit disappointed about the one hour penalty, but now we will try to push and to make a really better time every day. Everybody was pushing but it looks like we’ve won the stage, so I’m quite happy. I’ve learned a lot about the car. For now it looks like we've got a good time and I hope to be on the podium, but it's still a long way,” shared Nasser.

El Matador looking cool sporting goggles to protect against the dust.

While Carlos Sainz had said he will win every stage to the finish, that promise was dashed today and the MINIs of Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah both beat him to the finish. However, El Matador was only two minutes and thirty-six seconds off the pace of the leader with the top three cars only three minutes apart on today’s fast stage.

BJ Baldwin improved his position drastically today reporting a nice, clean run free from mechanical problems. Showing the speed of the Jeffries-built buggy, BJ would arrive at the finish only 18 minutes and 42 seconds behind Al-Attiyah, which was good enough for 14th. However, immediately after finishing he was sent to officials to resolve yesterday’s nerfing incident and was informed that he would be penalized one hour as well as a 1,000 Euros. “Obviously these people have no sense of humor,” joked Baldwin after coming out of the penalty box. Hopefully BJ brought some Euros with him!

Carlos Sainz and Robby Gordon discuss today’s stage.

Robby Gordon also bounced back in the results passing tons of cars to come in 10th on the stage. While he is still way out of podium contention, Robby hopes to take some stage wins and break into the top ten overall.

Even the Chilean military got in on the spectating action.

Overall Standings as of Stage 8 1 301 AL-ATTIYAH NASSER (QAT) MINI 02h32m57s 2 300PETERHANSEL STÉPHANE (FRA) MINI 02h34m09s +01m12s 3 303 SAINZ CARLOS (ESP) SMG L 02h35m33s +02m36s * 4 307 TERRANOVA ORLANDO (ARG) MINI 02h39m37s +06m40s 5 309 HOLOWCZYC KRZYSZTOF (POL) MINI 02h40m46s +07m49s 6 304 ROMA NANI (ESP) MINI ALL4 RACING 02h42m16s +09m19s 7 302 DE VILLIERS GINIEL (ZAF) TOYOTA HILUX 02h42m18s +09m21s 8 314 VASILYEV VLADIMIR (RUS) MINI 02h44m56s +11m59s 9 311 TEN BRINKE BERNHARD (NLD) HRX FORD 02h46m04s +13m07s 10 315 LAVIEILLE CHRISTIAN (FRA) HAVAL H8 02h49m53s +16m56s