Feb 20, 2018

Dakar 2018: Stage 8 – Toby Price Gains 6 Minutes On Leader

Sebastian Cavallero
Sebastian Cavallero found the rain and mud of Stage 8 a little challenging.

Australian Toby Price has closed the gap to the 2018 Dakar leader by 6 minutes in today’s 8th stage.

Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) went into the stage through the Andes in Bolivia – the longest stage so far – with a 3 minute 14 second lead over Honda’s Kevin Benavides, but dropped over 8 minutes to stage winner Antoine Meo (KTM).


  • STAGE 8: Uyuni / Tupiza
  • Liaison > 87 km – Special > 498 km
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s nearly 11,000 square km in size and 3,656 m above sea level.

Toby Price finished just 2 min 45 sec behind his KTM teammate, allowing him to close the gap to Van Beveran.

Adrien Van Beveren says the fight for the overall win has begun: “These mountain tracks require a laser-like focus and take their toll. We pushed really hard with Benavides, Price and Barreda in the final 150 kilometres. The fight has begun. I spent lots of time navigating at the front, but I like it even though it’s more taxing. I’m happy with the way things are going and my sensations.”

Our two other Australians have had consistent days.

A 26th placing today has seen Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) move to 22nd overall, and Scott Britnell (KTM) has jumped up 4 places overall after a solid effort today.

Gabriela Novotna
Gabriela Novotna is 81st overall after Stage 8 of the 2018 Dakar.

In other news …

  • Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) was in doubt for the rest of the rally after injuring his knee yesterday, and initial reports were that he had broken it! However he completed today’s stage in 8th place, dropping 12 minutes to the leader.
  • Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) has retired with elbow and knee injuries – another devastating blow to the Yamaha Factory team.
  • Laia Sanz has been consistently working her way up the rankings. A 9th place today – her best stage yet – has moved her to 13th overall.
  • Rookie Gabriela Novotna is positioned 81st overall.

The organisers have cancelled Stage 9 due to poor weather conditions.

The stage was to be a 242 km Special with 513 km liaison, taking the competitors into Argentina.

But recent heavy rain in the area created doubts over the stage’s viability, and event promoter ASO has made the decision to call off competition and have the rally’s participants travel to Salta in formation as a caravan.

Dakar Sporting Director Marc Coma says: “Holding the stage would be risky and we do not want to alter the dynamics of what has been a fantastic Dakar up to this point.”

“We prefer to be a little conservative today and then be able to hold stage 10 in the best way possible.”


Top 5 after Stage 8

  • 1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team)
  • 2. Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team) – 00:00:22
  • 3. Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:06:34
  • 4. Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:07:35
  • 5. Joan Barreda Bort (Monster Energy Honda Team) – 00:08:01

Australians

  • 4. Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:07:35
  • 22. Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team) – 02:19:31
  • 73. Scott Britnell (KTM) – 16:15:12

Want to know more about these riders and drivers? Check out our competitor profiles: