Dakar 2024 – Stage 8 Highlights

DAY 11: Stage 8 – January 15, 2024 – Route: Al Duwadimi > Ha’il – Liaison 220km and Special 458km

– It was another good day for the Benavides brothers on Monday as two-time bike winner Kevin set the fastest time and younger brother – by six-and-a-half years – Luciano finished second just 31 seconds behind. It didn’t elevate him in the overall standings, however Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Kevin is now 20m 31s back from American leader Ricky Brabec. Kevin, 35, said: “I feel good and I enjoyed my ride. The last part was fun. I did some good work and now we need to continue pushing.”

– Over in the Ultimate car category, leader Carlos Sainz managed to put a further five minutes into his nearest rival Sébastien Loeb overall with the Spaniard fourth over the 458km special distance as fellow Audi RS Q e-tron drivers Mattias Ekström and Stéphane Peterhansel finished in first and second respectively. Sainz, 61, said: “I think there’s still a long way for me and there are long stages to come. You can see how easy it is to lose five or 10 minutes on this race. It’s very stressful.”

– Brazilian Lucas Moraes of Toyota Gazoo Racing retained third overall as he looks to repeat his 2023 podium finish with Ultimate rookie Guillaume de Mévius half an hour behind in fourth overall and 2009 Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers of South Africa a further 10 minutes back in fifth. Moraes, 32, said: “It’s a great feeling to be riding with these legends here and we’ve got to keep fighting.” De Mévius, 29, added: “We had no problems with the car, no punctures and no navigation issues.”

– American leader Mitch Guthrie Jr. finished second on Stage Eight to marginally extend his lead over Spanish racer Cristina Gutiérrez to 34m 03s with every second valuable over the four remaining stages this week. The Taurus T3 Max driver, 27, said: “Now that we’re leading the overall the goal is to get to the finish line clean every day. It’s tough because you’re not quite sure how fast to go.” After winning two T3 stages last year, Gutiérrez added: “The most important thing is to be consistent and not make mistakes on the four stages that are still to come. We will try to go as fast as we can.”

– Tuesday’s 417-kilometre timed special stage between Ha’il and AlUla on Stage Nine will offer spectacular views all the way as the race for the overall podium heats up down the final stretch.

2024 Dakar Rally overall standings after Stage 8

Ultimate Car

1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) 33h 29m 10s
2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) +24m 47s
3. Lucas Moraes (BRA) +1h 05m 13s

Challenger Car

1. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) 37h 08m 19s
2. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) +34m 03s
3. Francisco López Contardo (CHI) +42m 51s


1. Ricky Brabec (USA) 36h 16m 31s
2. Ross Branch (BWA) +42s
3. José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHI) +4m 21s

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