SS8 Salta – Tucuman – 183 km special – 228 liaison
The 8th stage was divided into 2 special stages, split by a neutralisation section. Because of yesterday’s heavy rain, the first timed section was cancelled for bikes, cars and trucks so the total timed section today was reduced from the original 492 km to183 km.
Riders continued their marathon stage from Cachi, a separate bivouac where no assistance was allowed which meant they had to work on their bikes by themselves.
With the first timed section cancelled, the first riders started for the second part of the special at noon, passing through canyons, river beds, green areas and fast tracks. Navigation was the key issue today as there were several river crossings with many different lines that could mislead the riders. Tricky navigation was complicated by the rain that started to fall during the stage.
An incredible performance by American Johnny Campbell gained him second position, 7’04 behind Barreda who won today’s stage. Johnny felt at home on the fast tracks similar to the California desert. Starting from the back, he found the correct direction while navigation mistakes spoiled today’s stage for Rodrigues and Pizzolito. Rodrigues finished 10th and drops into 14th position overall, while Javier finished 25th but moves 2 positions up to 10th overall.
Johnny Campbell SS8 2nd +07.04″, 66th overall: “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. Finishing 2nd after the long marathon stage is a very good result”.
Helder Rodrigues SS8 10th +15’57″, 14th overall: “Dakar is like this, today the navigation was very difficult and I lost valuable time with a mistake. At km 400 I went on the right while everybody else went on the left, I rode for 10 km alone, there were no marks and I started to doubt myself, so I changed direction and I caught up everybody, that were lost. This was a wrong decision and this mistake spoiled my stage result. It’s a real pity but this is the human side of the Dakar challenge”.
Javier Pizzolito 25th +20’38”, 10th overall: “The rain complicated a lot of the first part of the stage, navigation today was very difficult and I got lost like many of the riders. Once I caught Helder, I followed him, finding the right way. All in all being 10th overall after the first 8 stages is a good result. Now I look forward to the rest day and then more desert stages ahead”.
Today’s result are subject to change because the jury is still evaluating the possibility to cancel the final part of the stage with the results being taken at CP2.
SS8 Unofficial results: 1.Barreda (Husqvarna), 2. Campbell Team HRC (Honda) +07’04 3.Jakes (KTM) +07’57 4. Bianchi Prata (Husqvarna) +11’10, 5.Guindani (Yamaha) … 10.Rodrigues Team HRC (Honda) +15’57”, 25.Pizzolito Team HRC (Honda) +20’38.
Overall results: 1. Casteau (Yamaha) 2. Despres (KTM) +9’26” 3.Faria (KTM) 11’16” 4.Lopez (KTM) 12’00” 5.Pain (Yamaha) 16’10”… 10. Pizzolito Team HRC (Honda) +34’55, 14. Rodrigues Team HRC (Honda) +41’39, 66. Campbell Team HRC (Honda) +5h42’00
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