Ekstrom wins 8th stage of Dakar Rally, Loeb gains ground
Sports Desk, Jan 10 (EFE).- Mattias Ekstrom on Monday led a one-two victory for Audi at the 8th stage of the Dakar Rally, while overall leader Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota) conceded ground to closest rival Sebastian Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme).
The Swede was the first to cross the finish line of the stage between Saudi Arabia’s al-Dawadimi and Wadi Ad-Dawasair in two hours, 43 minutes and 21 seconds, only 49 seconds ahead of his French teammate Stéphane Peterhansel.
Sebastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) had to settle for the third spot, three minutes and eight seconds off the pace as two tire punctures hindered his efforts to claim victory.
Nonetheless, the Frenchman managed to close the gap behind overall leader al-Attiyah by over seven minutes, to 37 minutes and 58 seconds.
The Qatari ended the stage in 10th, over 10 minutes behind Ekstrom as he struggled with technical issues.
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed al-Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota) is third in the overall classification, as he ended the stage in fifth, behind Spain’s Carlos Sainz (Audi).
In the bike category, Briton Sam Sunderland (Gas Gas) dominated the eighth stage to regain the overall lead, ahead of Australia’s Matthias Walkner and Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren respectively.
Sunderland covered the stage in three hours, 48 minutes and two seconds, ahead of Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla and Walkner, who came 02′ 53” and 04′ 11” off the pace, respectively. EFE