The day started slowly as the start of the race was delayed to 8:00 am local time. Yesterday’s heavy rain in Uyuni had made it nearly impossible to cross the salt pans that cover the first 100km of the eighth stage and an alternative route had to be sorted.
The change in plans did not affect Pedrero’s focus. With a chance of victory in his sights the Spaniard fought off Stefan Svitko and snatched the lead, until Pablo Quintanilla dove under his time by just eleven seconds. Today’s results see Pedrero jump to 11th place in the overall rankings, after having received an 15-minute penalty yesterday that saw him drop from 6th to 23rd in the race results and from 19th to 20th in the overall standings.
HFP Yamaha Racing Off-Road rider Xavier de Soultrait also delivered a fine performance and finished 6th on the stage, shooting up to 14th overall.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Rally Team Yamalube riders had a more difficult time. Olivier Pain rode a strong race and finished in 12th place and this evening jumps from 21st to 13th overall, but his teammates weren’t as lucky.
Michael Metge’s bad luck continued. After yesterday’s fall, today he encountered mechanical problems right in the middle of the salt lake and was unable to continue the race. Teammate Alessandro Botturi was also forced to withdraw from the race at the fuel point after 310 km.
In the quad category Jeremias González Ferioli was the star of the day. The 18 year-old won today’s stage (3h43’35) and currently holds 4th position in the general standings. The leader in the standings, Ignacio Casale, finished today’s stage in second place (7’54) in front of Lafuente (11’04). Rafal Sonik experienced some difficulty and lost the provisional lead (at 6’49) in the overall standings to Casale (36h04’14).
Tomorrow the riders will wave goodbye to Iquique and cross the Atacama Desert on their way to Calama. A road full of bumps and potholes lies ahead, which will be demanding for both the riders and their vehicles.
2nd / 00’11, overall 11th / 2h06’19
“Aahh! I was so close to winning the special. Just 11 seconds! At the end of the dried lake I stopped to clean the radiator, which was completely blocked up with salt. Then, when I got to the CP a few kilometres after, I knew it was time well spent. There were broken bikes everywhere. At the end of the first special I was just one second behind the leader, but coming down the steep descent at the end of the second special Quintanilla came past me. I tried to stay with him but my bike started to shake and I had to close the throttle. Still, an excellent day for me.”
12th / 8’15, overall 13th / 2h15’38
“Last night I started working on the bike straight away and managed to get about six hours sleep, though working on a muddy bike in the freezing rain at 4000m was no fun at all! Then this morning nobody was very enthusiastic to start the special, it was still raining, it was still freezing cold and there was water lying everywhere. They told us at the start that the first special had been shortened, which motivated ‘the troops’ a little and off we went in the first wave of 30 riders, flat out 130km across the salt lake with about 5cm of standing water! One of the Yamaha WR450F Rally’s strengths is its engine, so I wasn’t surprised to find myself right up at the front of the pack. In a couple of places however the water was so deep my bike started to aquaplane and I was forced to drop back a little and follow the tracks of the other riders, where the water was less deep. Then after the long neutralisation we had 40kms of special to take us directly into the bivouac. The cars had been through the day before so it was very rutted. This evening I feel pretty good, both physically and mentally, which is just as well as we have a tough couple of days ahead of us.”
Alexandre Kowalski - Team Director
“The first marathon stage turned out to be exceptionally difficult, even by Dakar standards and unfortunately for us resulted in the retirement of both Alessandro Botturi, who was unable to start his bike after the refuelling, and Michael Metge who broke down in the middle of the salt lake. Until we get to see the two bikes we can only speculate on what happened, but looking at the machines that have made it into the bivouac and talking to the other riders it is possible that a combination of salt and mud blocked up their radiators causing their engines to overheat with catastrophic results. Olivier (Pain) however is still in the race and knocking on the door of the top 10 and the whole team is behind him now to achieve the best possible result. Congratulations too to Juan Pedrero and Xavier de Soultrait for their excellent performances.”
Dakar Rally 2015 Stage 08: Uyuni to Iquique
1. Pablo Quintanilla, CHL (KTM) 02:56:19
2. Juan Pedrero, ESP (Yamaha) 02:56:30
3. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 02:56:31
4. Toby Price, AUS (KTM) 02:57:00
5. Laia Sanz Pla-Giribert, ESP (Honda) 02:58:55
6. Xavier De Soultrait, FRA (Yamaha) 03:02:55
7. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco TVS) 03:03:01
8. Hans Vogels, NLD (KTM) 03:03:53
9. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 03:03:56
10. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 03:04:03
11. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 03:04:20
12. Olivier Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 03:04:34
13. Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 03:04:44
14. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Yamaha) 03:06:41
15.Paulo Gonçalves, PRT (Honda) 03:08:36
Alessandro Botturi, ITA (Yamaha) withdrawn
Michael Metge, FRA (Yamaha) withdrawn
Dakar Rally 2015: Overall Ranking
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 28:51:12
2. Paulo Gonçalves, PRT (Honda) 29:00:23
3. Pablo Quintanilla, CHL (KTM) 29:02:23
4. Toby Price, AUS (KTM) 29:07:08
5. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 29:17:42
6. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 29:25:46
7. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco TVS) 29:49:20
8. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 30:02:00
9. Laia Sanz Pla-Giribert, ESP (Honda) 30:10:03
10. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 30:38:59
11. Juan Pedrero, ESP (Yamaha) 30:57:31
12. Hans Vogels, NLD (KTM) 30:57:58
13. Olivier Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 31:06:50
14. Xavier De Soultrait, FRA (Yamaha) 31:23:09
15. Fabien Planet, FRA (Sherco TVS) 31:36:42
18. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Yamaha) 31:52:47