As the eighth stage of Dakar 2021 took drivers from Sakaka to Neom, the competition between Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mini X-Raid’s Stephane Peterhansel remained close. Over the rocky terrain, however, Al-Attiyah came out on top to claim the 40th stage win of his career.
Still in the lead in the general rankings, however, is stage eight’s third-place finisher Peterhansel. But with a variance of just five minutes and 50 seconds, things are getting close. Crossing the line one position ahead of him was teammate Carlos Sainz, who finished just 52 seconds behind Al-Attiyah.
Lower down in the field, the Peugeot 3008-driven Abu Dhabi Racing team duo Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Cyril Despres took the fight to Toyota Overdrive’s Jakub Przygonski with a fourth and fifth place finish, respectively. Despite this, Przygonski retained fourth place in the general rankings thanks to a solid sixth-place finish on the day, with a variance of 18 minutes and 23 seconds.
South Africa’s Shameer Variwara, racing for Toyota Gazoo Racing, saw his first top 10 finish of this year's race, crossing the line a mere 28 seconds after Przygonski. He was followed by Vladimir Vasilyev of X-Raid, Martin Prokop of Benzina Orlen and Christian Lavielle from MD Rallye Sport.
Stage nine will keep drivers in Neom, with a 109 km liaison and 465 km special in which the duel between Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah is expected to continue.
1. Al-Attiyah (Toyota)
2. Sainz (Mini): +00:52
3. Peterhansel (Mini): +03:03
4. Al Qassimi (Peugeot): +12:44
5. Despres (Peugeot): +12:49
6. Przygonski (Toyota): +18:23
7. Variwara (Toyota): +18:51
8. Vasilyev (Mini): +19:05
9. Prokop (Ford): +21:37
10. Lavielle (Optimus): +22:06
1. Peterhansel (Mini)
2. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +05:50
3. Sainz (Mini): +39:55
4. Przygonski (Toyota): +01:39:08
5. Roma (BRX): +02:20:59
6. Al Qassimi (Peugeot): +02:41:33
7. Vasilyev (Mini): +02:42:00
8. Prokop (Ford): +03:19:24
9. De Villiers (Toyota): +03:27:50
10. Lavielle (Optimus): +03:42:57