Stage 8, the final challenge before riders are given a well-deserved day of rest, was shortened due to heavy, persistent rain showers. Luckily, the original plan divided the stage into two timed sections and only the first section was cancelled. Once riders reached the second special, racing resumed as normal. Crossing nearly every type of terrain, riders ventured into areas of Argentina and the Andes Mountains never yet explored during a Dakar race, and in the end it was Husqvarna Rally Team by Speedbrain’s Joan Barreda who came out on top. The difficulty of navigating the course yielded some previously unseen names within the top-10, including second-place finisher Johnny Campbell of Team HRC Honda and KTM’s Ivan Jakes, who ended the day in third.
”After a couple of days in which just about everything has happened to me, this is a really important victory,” said Barreda. “Winning again is vital for me and for the whole team. I was up with Despres, but 50 km from the finish I saw that he had taken the wrong route, so I halted and then decided to take another path, and that led to victory.“
Stage 7 winner, Kurt Caselli of KTM, was first to ride and it wasn’t long before the arduous task of opening the road got the best of him. Within the first 30-kilometers Caselli ran off course after missing a right-hand turn, allowing French rider Oliver Pain to move into the lead and KTM rider Chaleco Lopez to assume second. Caselli was able to get back on track and remained in third for a period, but he continued to slip back as the contest continued.
Shortly after, 56 km into the race, Yamaha’s Frans Verhoeven moved to the front, keeping a slim advantage over Pain. KTM rider Stefan Svitko charged ahead as well, moving past the French rider to take second, though all three riders were essentially neck-and-neck. They were soon joined by Barreda and defending Dakar champion Cyril Despres of KTM and, by the 86 km mark, Barreda had taken the lead. Despres, as well, looked to make up time he’d lost in the previous rounds and was up to second before the entire lead pack ran into trouble.
118 km into the race many of the leaders veered off track, heading into the mountains instead of following the river. The mistake allowed for Honda’s Helder Rodrigues and Barreda’s teammate, Paulo Goncalves, to move up the ranks slightly, as they were some of the only riders out front to stay on the correct path. The advantage was short lived for Rodrigues though, as he lost a substantial amount of time soon after when he veered off course. Goncalves fell back in position as well, once lead riders corrected their earlier mistake.
Johnny Campbell capitalized on the mistakes of others to earn a second-place finish in Stage 8 of the 2013 Dakar Rally.
The mistakes of some proved to be opportunities for others and Campbell, who spent copious amounts of time assisting other riders in previous stages, was able to notch his best stage finish of the competition. He still languishes in 66th overall, but that’s a vast improvement on his rankings earlier in the Rally.
“It was a nice stage, I started from the back and it was kind of challenging in the “off piste”, but when we arrived on the hard pack, there were very fast tracks like navigating in the California desert and it felt like home,” said Campbell. “Finishing second after the long marathon stage is a very good result”.
Jakes slipped into the top-10 overall following his third-place finish, going into the rest day on Sunday in sixth. Fourth-place in Stage 8 went to Husqvarna rider Pedro Bianchi Prata and fifth was claimed by Vincent Guindani, two other riders who enjoyed their first stage finishes within the lead ranks. Casteu ended the day in sixth. Rodrigues took 10th, Despres followed behind the Portuguese rider in 11th; Goncalves fell way behind and took 39th, as did Verhoeven, who ended in 41st. Caselli was even further back, coming across the finish in 57th.
Pain lost his top rank in the overall classification, turning the honor over to his countryman, Casteu. Despres is up to second overall, with KTM’s Ruben Faria less than two minutes back in third. Lopez holds to fourth less than a minute behind Faria and Pain is now fifth. Caselli fell from eighth to 11th and Honda’s Javier Pizzolito now leads the Team HRC charge in 10th.
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Results
Salta to San Miguel de Tucuman (Shortened due to inclement weather).
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Husq) 2:07:26
2. Johnny Campbell, USA (Honda) 2:14:30
3. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 2:15:23
4. Pedro Bianchi Prata, PRT (Husq) 2:18:36
5. Vincent Guindani, FRA (Yamaha) 2:20:33
6. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) 2:21:39
7. Felipe Prohens, CHL (Honda) 2:22:01
8. Robert Van Pelt, NLD (Honda) 2:22:34
9. Lyndon Poskitt, GBR (KTM) 2:23:14
10. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 2:23:23
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 8:
1. David Casteu (Yamaha) 19:56:33
2. Cyril Despres (KTM) 20:05:59
3. Ruben Faria (KTM) 20:07:49
4. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 20:08:33
5. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 20:12:43
6. Ivan Jakes (KTM) 20:22:55
7. Israel Esquerre (Honda) 20:23:40
8. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) 20:28:05
9. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 20:30:23
10. Javier Pizzolito (Honda) 20:31:28