Nacho Cornejo has topped the timesheets on stage eight of the 2021 Dakar Rally to gain a minute in the overall rankings over stage runner-up Toby Price while Ricky Brabec rounded out the top three.
Marking the second half of the rally‰Ûªs marathon stage, the 709km day eight offered no respite for the riders. Leaving the temporary bivouac at Sakaka behind and heading west, a 226km liaison led riders to the start of the 375km timed special. Comprising a challenging mix of sandy tracks followed by difficult to navigate stony pistes, the stage to Neom would test all riders‰Ûª skill and endurance on the second of two incredibly tough days in the desert.
Nacho Cornejo did not suffer from leading out the stage just behind his team-mate Ricky Brabec as many have through the 2021 edition. Limiting any mistakes he went on to win the stage to increase his lead over Toby Price at the top of the general standings by just over a minute.
‰ÛÏI started second, behind Ricky, my team-mate. He was pushing super hard at the beginning. I was pushing hard too but didn‰Ûªt catch him, I caught him maybe a just a little bit before refuelling," Cornejo explained. "I think we rode at a very good speed today. There were no navigation mistakes.
"There were some tricky parts, but we found the way and didn‰Ûªt make any mistakes and that‰Ûªs where we gained a lot of time. On the second part, we switched a little bit for which one was opening, but it was a nice stage ‰ÛÒ pretty fast but in the end, some very nice landscapes: these huge rocky mountains are just amazing, so I‰Ûªm happy to be riding here. With four days to go the plan is the same as it is now: try to ride as fast as we can, don‰Ûªt get lost, don‰Ûªt crash and take care of the bike, so I think that if we keep the same focus that I‰Ûªve been bringing on this race or on this last couple of days I can do pretty good. We‰Ûªre very focused, but now is the time to rest and think about tomorrow‰Ûªs stage‰Û