2017 Dakar Rally: More problems for organizers, Loeb wins Stage 8
The Dakar Rally proves one more time why it’s the world’s toughest race, not only for competitors but also for organizers. The 892-km long stage 8 between Uyuni in Bolivia and Salta in Argentina was shortened due to consenquences of the bad weather. Rising water levels in a river bed which has to be crossed by the competitors has led to the neutralisation of the day’s special after 174 kilometers. The competitors passed the border between Bolivia and Argentina during the 176-km link section.
The second part of the special stage remained unchanged but problems appears on the final link section. Due to rain, landslides blocked the road to Salta, so the new emergency-bivouac was set up 200 km earlier in Tilcara.
In the competition, three Peugeot 3008 DKRs were fastest again, scoring 1-2-3 stage win for the French manufacturer. Sebastien Loeb wins the stage and returns to the overall lead which he lost after stage 3. On the 419-km timed section, he was 3:35 minutes faster than Stephane Peterhansel and now Loeb is 1 minute 38 seconds ahead of his older teammate, with four more stages to go. The third Peugeot driver Cyril Despres was the second-fastest for much of the stage but he lost a pace in the second part of the special, finishing 5.13 minutes behind Loeb.
Mikko Hirvonen was the fastest non-Peugeot driver today, in the #303 Mini. He was 8.14 minutes slower than Loeb, remaining in the fifth place of the overall standings. Nani Roma (Toyota) dropped from the third to fourth place overall, losing one place to Despres, after finishing seventh-fastest today.
The almost one-thousand kilometers long stage was planned for tomorrow, between Salta and Chicelito, with 406-km long timed section. But, according to today’s problems, organizers decided to cancel the stage.