Dubbed the ‘Super Ica’, stage eight pitted the fastest 10 bikes, 10 cars and the top five trucks from the previous day together, setting off at three-minute intervals according to their stage seven results. At 360 kilometres, the timed special was the longest of the event and took competitors over fast, open pistes for the first half, before once again challenging them with the mountainous sand dunes of the Ica desert.
Austrian Matthias Walkner won the stage from Pablo Quintanilla with 2016 Dakar Champion Toby Price putting in another stunning performance on stage eight, and leading on time right up until the final two checkpoints.
Crossing the line in an eventual third position has elevated Price to overall leader in the provisional standings. But with just one minute separating the top two riders after close to 30 hours of racing, the Australian rider knows he still has to keep fighting right to the finish.
Toby Price: “I knew today had to count so I gave it everything – the wrist is really starting to sting now! It was a long special at 360 kilometres but I got through it and I’m pleased with how the whole stage went. Just two days left so I’ll get some rest tonight and attack again tomorrow. When the helmet goes on, you know I’m just going to do the best I can.”
Results Stage Eight – 2019 Dakar Rally:
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 03:55:25
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 03:56:10, +00:45
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 03:56:38, +01:13
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 04:01:46, +06:21
5. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 04:05:16, +09:51
Provisional Standings after Stage Eight:
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 28:53:08
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 28:54:11, +01:03
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 28:59:43, +06:35
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 28:59:46, +06:38
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 29:03:02, +09:54