* this thread will be updated all day as results come in.
Stage 8 of the Dakar is a long 477 km special stage followed by a 245 km transfer into Antofagasto. There were 122 bikes that left the line in Copiapo this morning. Chaleco Lopez did not take the start today. This was expected after he aggravated old injuries on Stage 7.
Check 1 – Right off the bat Despres was in trouble, getting stuck in the mud, along with Husqvarna’s Paolo Gonclaves. This opens a huge gap for Coma. Through check 1: Coma, Pain, Botturi, Pederero, Faria, Verhoeven, Ceci, Parreda, Viladoms. Despres lost nearly 12 minutes.
Check 5- Coma, Faria, Pedrero, Barrreda, Svitco, Rodriguez, Villadoms, Verhoeven, Casteau, Aubert. Despres and Gonclaves are 15 min back. Chris Birch is 30th, Laia Sanz 45th and Ned Suesse has only passed through check 2 so far, in 80th position.
Finish – Coma capitalizes on Despres problems. Coma continued to outpace Despres all the way to the finish of today’s special stage, gaining a 17 min advantage by the finish. At arrival now: Coma, Faria, Rodriguez, Casteau, Ullevalseter, Fares, Despres.
“Confirmation of the provisional podium at the finish of the eighth stage of the 2012 Dakar: Marc Coma blazed the course, beating the Portuguese duo of Ruben Faria (+7’00’) and Hélder Rodrigues (+9’46’). The fourth man across the finishing line was Cyril Despres, who lost 17’20’ and the overall lead to Coma, who now has a 9’32’ margin”.