• Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthiue Baumel scored their fourth win of the Dakar Rally.
• Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy finished in an impressive seventh place on stage eight.
• Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro suffered no less than four punctures, and ran out of spare tyres to finish in 17th on Monday.
The second part of the Marathon section of Dakar 2021 saw Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel win their fourth stage of the race.
The pair brought their Hilux safely to the bivouac despite suffering a mid-stage puncture, and closed the gap to rally leader, Stéphane Peterhansel, to 4min 50sec with four stages to go.
"Nasser and Mathieu did an amazing job again today, winning the second part of the Marathon section," said team principal, Glyn Hall, after all three remaining cars arrived at the bivouac in Neom after Stage 8 of the race.
"They were cautious yesterday in order to preserve the car for today’s push, but they executed the strategy perfectly, and reaped the rewards," Hall said.
Strong result for Variawa, disaster for De Villliers
A good performance by Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy saw the duo post seventh-fastest time over the 375km-long stage. They didn't suffer any punctures on the day, but stopped to assist fellow Hilux driver Yazeed Al Rajhi, who had suffered three punctures, and was in need of a spare tyre.
Despite this, they lagged only 18min 51sec behind Al-Attiyah/Baumel, and have moved to 23rd in the overall rankings.
Former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro had a torrid day on stage eight, they followed up the four punctures during stage seven with four more on stage eight. It severely hampered their progress of the Dakar veteran and lost significant time again, having driven the last 10km of the stage on the rim as the pair were left with no spare tyres.
They lost 30min 17sec on the stage and slid down to 9th in the overall standings.
"It is impossible to fight for a good stage time if our tyres don't last," said a clearly frustrated De Villiers. "We have tried to keep it tidy in the rough sections, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. We've had 18 punctures already this year, and we've got four more stages to go, so I don’t know where this is going to end," the Barrydale-born driver said.
Stage nine is a looped stage that starts and ends on the outskirts of the coastal area near Neom. The stage comprises a short liaison of 109km, together with a timed section of 465km over varied terrain including sandy tracks, dunes and rocky traverses.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Results:
1st No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, 2hr 56min 56sec
7th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +18min 51sec
17th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +30min 17sec
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 8:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +4min 50sec
9th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +3hr 26min 50sec
23rd No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +7hr 21min 50sec