Sam Sunderland and Mattias Ekstrom were victorious in stage 8 of the 2022 Dakar Rally in the bikes and cars categories respectively.

The eighth stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally started on Monday morning with the competition in the bikes category. However, not everyone arrived at the start of the stage. Ross Branch, who had had a crash earlier in the rally, retired from the event.

After yesterday’s struggles, the former overall leader Sam Sunderland showed great pace straightaway. He took the stage lead at the first waypoint, ahead of Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda Bort. Later on, Brabec lost some time and dropped down to P12 by km 170. That helped Barreda Bort get to P2, while Matthias Walkner grabbed the remaining top 3 spot.

Sunderland kept the lead in the next waypoints, but there were intense battles behind him. Pablo Quintanilla managed to overtake Barreda Bort, allowing him to get to P3. At km 321, the Chilean rider overtook Walkner for the 2nd place.

Sunderland won stage 8 and came back to the lead in the overall rankings. Quintanilla was second, while Walkner had the third-best time of the day.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 8 in the bikes category:

1Sam SunderlandGasGas Factory Racing3:48:02
2Pablo QuintanillaMonster Energy Honda+2:53
3Matthias WalknerRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+4:11
4Ricky BrabecMonster Energy Honda+6:44
5Mason KleinBas Dakar KTM Racing Team+8:08

The overall top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally in the bikes category:

1Sam SunderlandGasGas Factory Racing27:38:42
2Matthias WalknerRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+3:45
3Adrien Van BeverenMonster Energy Yamaha Rally Team+4:43
4Pablo QuintanillaMonster Energy Honda+5:30
5Joan Barreda BortMonster Energy Honda+14:38

After the stage 7 victory in the cars class, Sebastien Loeb surely wanted to keep closing the gap to the title rival Nasser Al-Attiyah. However, the Frenchman got a puncture 28 kilometers into the stage. At the same time, he did not lose much to Al-Attiyah at the first waypoint – only 5 seconds. Three Audis, led by Mattias Ekstrom, were on top of the standings.

Loeb got the advantage over Al-Attiyah at the next waypoint. At the same time, Stephane Peterhansel became the new leader.

Another Bahraid Raid Xtreme driver who had problems on Monday was Nani Roma. He had a mechanical issue at km 43.

Meanwhile, Loeb kept increasing the gap from Al-Attiyah. He was almost 8 and a half minutes ahead at km 170. Most importantly, Loeb overtook Peterhansel at that waypoint and became the new provisional leader.

Mister Dakar came back to the lead at km 239. His teammate Carlos Sainz overtook Loeb at the next checkpoint. However, it did not concern Loeb much as the Audi drivers were not his opponents for the overall title.

Ekstrom got the pace again and came back to the lead at the final waypoint before the finish. He got enough momentum and went on to win his first Dakar Rally stage. Peterhansel finished second, while Loeb completed the top 3 and won important time in his battle against Al-Attiyah.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 8 in the cars category:

1Mattias EkstromTeam Audi Sport3:34:21
2Stephane PeterhanselTeam Audi Sport+0:49
3Sebastien LoebBahrain Raid Xtreme+3:08
4Carlos SainzTeam Audi Sport+3:11
5Henk LateganToyota Gazoo Racing+3:20

The overall top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally in the cars category:

1Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo Racing27:45:52
2Sebastien LoebBahrain Raid Xtreme+37:58
3Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive Toyota+53:13
4Jakub PrzygonskiX-Raid Mini JCW Team+1:28:06
5Orlando TerranovaBahrain Raid Xtreme+1:31:39

Hi everyone! My name is Anton, I am 19 years old and I am an aspiring motorsports journalist. I love motorsports for those emotions and excitement it brings.