- Al Attiyah / Baumel further extend overall lead
- De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz fourth on Stage 8
- SA Toyota team Ten Brinke / Panseri forced out
PISCO, Peru -A 360km test on Tuesday saw the Dakar rally return to the coastal town of Pisco and for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) and navigator Mathieu Baumel (France), was was another big hurdle for their South African-built Hilux.
Al Attiyah, a double Dakar winner, started fourth which put the Toyota Hilux crew in a strong position as the crew and their bakkie pushed on through some of the toughest dunes of the 2019 race.
“We are really happy with our performance today,” Al Attiyah said after bringing the Hilux into the bivouac at Pisco. “It was tough out but the bakkie was absolutely perfect, we didn’t make any serious mistakes.”
Their solid drive was second-fastest on the day, 07min27 behind Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot), who had fallen behind in the overall standings but showed his class by conquering Stage 8. Third on the stage was Mini’s Jakub Przygonski, eight minutes behind Al Attiyah.
The pressure on the leaders was eased slightly when Stephane Peterhansel lost 24 minutes stuck in big dunes mid-way through the stage. This allowed the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew to extend their lead at the top of the standings to 46min29 over Mini’s Nani Roma.
‘GOOD, CLEAN STAGE’
South African Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz posted fourth-fastest time on Stage 8, 15 minutes behind Loeb and eight minutes behind Al Attiyah / Baumel.
He said at the bivvy: “We had a really good, clean stage despite some small issues. I think it was the toughest stage so far, even after the previous day’s monster stage, but we are now in an ideal road position to support Nasser to the finish – though we really hope he doesn’t need us!”
From the highs to the lows… Toyota’s Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Xavier Panseri lost their gearbox near the end of the day’s first section and had to retire.
“Team boss Glyn Hall said: “They ran into difficulties in the deep dunes near the end of the stage. Their transmission failed and the support truck was unable to fix the problem.”
Next will be the penultimate stage, a 313 km loop starting and ending near the Pisco bivouac. The liaison is only 89 km, so all attention will be on the action in the dunes.
‘JUST PROTECT THAT LEAD!’
Hall again: “Nasser and Mathieu are in an ideal position, having finished second on Stage 8, so, they won’t have to open the road. All they have to do is to protect their lead.”
Only one more stage remains will remain after Stage 9, the return to the Peruvian capital, Lima, on a 112km special stage. The day will conclude with a ceremonial finish on January 17 before the vehicles and crews return home.
STAGE 8 RESULT
1. Loeb / Elena (Peugeot)
2. Al Attiyah / Baumel (Toyota) +07min27
3. Przygonski / Colsoul (Mini) +15min15
4. De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz (Toyota) +15min55
5. Roma / Haro (Mini) +15min57
6. Al Rajhi / Gottschalk (Mini) +22min51
7. Prokop / Tomanek (Ford) +28min36
8. Peterhansel / Castera (Mini) +31min41
9. Lachaume / Polato (Peugeot) +36min22
10. Chabot / Pillot (Toyota) +41min16
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 8
1. Al Attiyah / Baumel (Toyota)
2. Roma / Haro (Mini) +46min29
3. Loeb / Elena (Peugeot) +46min45
4. Peterhansel / Castera (Mini) +53min30
5. Despres / Cottret (Mini) +02hr15min27
6. Przygonski / Colsoul (Mini) +02hr19min50
7. Prokop / Tomanek (Ford) +02hr56min07
8. Al Rajhi / Gottschalk (Mini) +03hr54min57
9. Sainz / Cruz (Mini) +06hr42min15
10. De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz (Toyota) +07hr01min01