Dakar Rally: Sunderland Wins Stage Eight, Retakes Overall Lead

Dakar Rally: Sunderland Wins Stage Eight, Retakes Overall Lead

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By KTM Factory Racing:


Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage Eight

Matthias Walkner has finished as third quickest on the long 830-kilometer eighth stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally, closing the gap on the provisional event leader who he trails by under four minutes. Toby Price enjoyed another solid stage, bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home in sixth place. Kevin Benavides finished as 13th fastest with Danilo Petrucci 25th.

Today’s 395-kilometer special comprised a three-way mixture of sand, dirt, and dunes. With navigation proving less testing than on Sunday’s stage seven, times throughout the front runners were extremely close with the top eight separated by only 10 minutes after close to four hours of racing against the clock.

Making the best use of his later start position, Matthias Walkner pushed hard right from the beginning this morning and was soon working his way through the field. Using his skill and experience, the Austrian was able to successfully complete the stage as third fastest, just over four minutes behind current rally leader Sam Sunderland. Although he will set off near the front on Tuesday’s stage nine, Matthias will start six minutes behind Sunderland and will use the opportunity to chase down his rival and make up those valuable minutes.

Matthias Walkner: “Every day at the moment is critical because you can win or lose so much time on every stage. Thankfully today went well for me, I was able to push all the way from the back. I gave my all out there today – everything I had – so I’m pleased to come away with third place and close in on the overall leader again. There are four more days left to go and with things so close it is more important than ever to complete each stage without making any big mistakes. I’ll do my best to keep focused and concentrate on the days ahead.”

A sixth-place result on stage eight has moved Toby Price one place further up the provisional overall leaderboard to ninth, just over 30 minutes down on the leader. With times closing up at the top of the rankings, and four more long days left to race, the experienced Aussie knows that a podium result is still well within his reach. Earning another favorable start position, for tomorrow’s stage nine, Toby will be looking to further reduce that gap to the leaders and elevate himself higher in the overall standings.

Toby Price: “It wasn’t too bad today. I got through most of the stage pretty well, I did make a couple of mistakes, but it’s hard to be absolutely perfect out there. The liaisons from today have meant it’s been a really long day in the saddle. All-in-all the bike was really good though and I’m ready for another day.”

Setting off as the second rider into today’s special, Kevin Benavides was able to maintain a strong pace despite having to open much of the stage. A small technical issue with his KTM 450 RALLY caused the Argentinian to stop to make a couple of adjustments midway through the special, but he was soon back on track and pushing to make up time. Completing the stage in 13th, Kevin now lies in an impressive sixth overall in the rally standings and will be aiming to further reduce his 14-minutes-and 47-second deficit to the leader on Tuesday’s stage nine.

Kevin Benavides: “I’m really pleased with how I rode today. It’s a little frustrating that a small technical issue cost me some time but thankfully I was able to complete the stage in a good position. I did make a couple of small navigation mistakes too, but on the whole things went well. It’s encouraging that after losing so much time on the first stage I am well within the fight for the top positions, so I’ll stay motivated and do my best again tomorrow.”

Two days into the second week of his first ever Dakar Rally, Danilo Petrucci continues to impress with both his speed and consistency. The former MotoGP™ star was running well inside the top 20 throughout today’s special, only for a small error in the closing kilometers to cost him several minutes and drop him down the order. Happy with his riding, Petrucci now looks forward to tomorrow and another long day on the bike.

Danilo Petrucci: “I’m happy to get to the finish as it was a very, very long day today. From the start I tried to find a good solid rhythm and then attack when it was safe to do so. I was really pleased with my navigation but just towards the end, I found myself in the wrong canyon and I had to turn around to get back on track. It’s frustrating, but it also means I have a strong starting position for tomorrow.”

KTM-supported privateer Mason Klein put in another exceptional performance today, finishing the long stage as fifth fastest. The 20-year-old continues to impress on his debut Dakar with both his speed and impeccable navigation skills. Today’s result places the American 10th overall and as leading rookie.

Provisional Results Stage Eight (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 3:48:02

2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 3:50:55 +2:53

3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:52:13 +4:11

4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:54:46 +6:44

5. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 3:56:10 +8:08

Other KTM

6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:56:41 +8:39

13. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 4:03:04 +15:02

25. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 4:11:56 +23:54


Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 8 of 12 stages

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 27:38:42

2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 27:42:27 +3:45

3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 27:43:25 +4:43

4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 27:44:12 +5:30

5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 27:53:20 +14:38

Other KTM

6. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 27:53:29 +14:47

9. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 28:11:12 +32:30

10. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 28:14:08 +35:26




More, from a press release issued by GASGAS Factory Racing:



Rolling with the punches and bouncing back in style after a difficult day yesterday, Sam Sunderland has arguably delivered his best performance of the Dakar Rally so far with victory on a seriously tough stage eight. Remarkably, it’s Sam’s first stage win of the 2022 rally, and his first for GASGAS Factory Racing, with the Brit’s impressive ride seeing him return to the top of the provisional classification.

Sam bounces back in style to win stage eight

Third Dakar Rally stage win for GASGAS in 2022

Sunderland retakes the provisional lead with four days to go

Sam Sunderland: “That was a really challenging stage today. There was a lot of sand early on but then near the end there were a lot of canyons to navigate through. You had to be really patient and choose the right one as it would be so easy to get lost and lose time. The guys opening, fortunately, did a great job, which made things a little easier for me but after leading out yesterday, I know how tough that can be. Early on I was pushing hard and I was a bit too aggressive with a few small crashes in the sand so I had to settle down a bit, get into a rhythm, and it paid off as I was able to take the stage win. We have some long days ahead, but today’s result is just what I needed after everything that happened yesterday.”

Undoubtedly, Sam’s determination and his ability to keep on keeping on, even when faced with ongoing Dakar challenges, is a huge reason the GASGAS RC 450F racer has returned to the top of the leaderboard. Relieved after taking his first win of the rally, Sam will be back in the hot seat tomorrow as the rider that has the unenviable task of opening the stage. Armed with his superior navigation skills, and a winner’s mindset, Sam will be first into a stage that will feature very little in the way of sand, yet a lot of rocky terrain, as he completes what might prove to be one of the pivotal stages of the 2022 Dakar Rally.

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 8

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:48:02

2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:50:55 + 0:02:53

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:52:13 + 0:04:11

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 8)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 27:38:42

2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 27:42:27

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 27:43:25




More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna Factory Racing:



Continuing to deliver solid results on the long and massively challenging days of the Dakar Rally, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has finished as seventh quickest on the long, 395-kilometre special on stage eight. Overcoming the usual yoyo effect, where riders starting near the front lose a considerable amount of time to their rivals before going on to earn an advantageous starting position for the following day, Benavides was able to maintain good speed on the stage with a minimum of mistakes. Ultimately, he completed the route just under 10 minutes behind the eventual stage winner.

After a steady start through the early kilometres of the stage where he focused on his navigation, Luciano was able to hold his position just inside the top 10 for the majority of the tough, mixed terrain timed special. Where some of his rivals faltered, Benavides was able to maintain his focus and bring his FR 450 Rally to the finish in an extremely commendable seventh place, nine and a half minutes down on the quickest time for the day. His result moves the 26-year-old up to 14th in the provisional overall standings.

Now, with his consistency paying off, and his 2022 Dakar Rally campaign going from strength to strength, the young Argentinian is looking to maximise the advantage he has for Tuesday’s 491-kilometre stage nine and make up more time on those starting ahead of him.

Luciano Benavides: “Stage eight was a really long day. As usual it had some tricky navigation but also had a really big mix of terrain with big plateaus and dunes, rocky tracks and valleys, and some canyons too – it was really good fun to race through. The stage was fast, and conditions were windy too, but I was able to do a good job of my navigation and so I’m really happy with that. My speed was also good considering I was up near the front. Altogether I’m very happy with how the day went and now I’m looking forward to pushing once again tomorrow.”

2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 8 Provisional Classification

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:48:02

2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:50:55

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:52:13

4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:54:46

5. Mason Klein (KTM) 3:56:10

6. Toby Price (KTM) 3:56:41

7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:57:34


2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 8)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 27:38:42

2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 27:42:27

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 27:43:25

4. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 27:44:12

5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 27:53:20

6. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 27:53:29

14. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 28:34:45




More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Honda Team:

Quintanilla, runner-up in the eighth stage, closes in on the rally lead

Pablo Quintanilla posted second place today at the finish-line in Wadi Ad-Dawasir, clawing back time and setting up the chance of making the top step of the final podium. Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec was fourth on the day.

The Dakar Rally heads into its final stretch and today, with the lengthiest stage of this edition, at 830 km, the mileage count takes a hefty leap forward. On the agenda were 395 kilometres of special stage across the southern part of Saudi Arabia, with plenty of sand and a lot of dunes to be tackled. From Al Dawadimi it was on to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, on a day featuring more kilometres of link section than special stage. The most southerly located bivouac in this Dakar will be the destination for two stages: tomorrow, a new looping stage will see competitors charter territory in the vast Empty Quarter.

Pablo Quintanilla was the best placed representative from the Monster Energy Honda Team on today’s stage, although most of the riders performed well on the eighth stage of the Dakar 2022. Pablo reached the bivouac in second place, less than three minutes behind the day’s winner. Ricky Brabec also set a fierce pace, registering the day’s fourth best time, 6’44” behind Sunderland. Tomorrow, the American should be able to use tomorrow’s position to his advantage to gnaw into the time of his direct rivals.

Nacho Cornejo got lumbered with the unpleasant task of opening the track today after winning yesterday’s stage. The young Chilean rode well until the latter part of the day, when a minor navigation error caused him to slip back, losing a little more time than expected. Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate Joan Barreda took a tumble on a dune early in the special that left him in some pain throughout the day. The rider still managed to finish ninth in RallyGP with a 12 minutes deficit. The Spaniard is fifth overall, 14’38” behind the race leader.

Tomorrow’s stage

The Wadi Ad-Dawasir loop, some 491 kilometres in total, including 287 kilometres of timed special stage, will pass through a fairly unfamiliar area: the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Mountains and tracks between canyons will require a radically different riding style to the approach used until now. Less sand, but higher difficulty level, especially regarding the navigation.

Ricky Brabec  2


Today’s route was good, it was very fast and the longest day of this Dakar. The first part was a lot of dunes, the second part was very fast. I rode alone all day, hoping to catch the group, but I couldn’t. I wish I was at the front… I wish I was up front battling with the top five. The first seven are within six minutes of each other! For our part, we’ll keep pushing for the remaining days; tomorrow could be a good day. We’ll see what happens… anything can happen in this Dakar.

Pablo Quintanilla  7


Today was a good day for me. I took advantage of the starting position that I had and I finished the stage second and knocked off some time in the general standings. I’m very pleased. In the second part of the race we have been taking it day by day and reducing the time. The times are very tight and there are still four special stages to go. I’m calm, enjoying myself and focused on having a good race each day.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11


Today was a tough stage, I knew it would be difficult because I had to open the track, but I think I was doing well until about kilometre 333, where I entered a track in a valley that was not the right one. I lost a lot of time to get back in the right place and I’m a bit upset about that because I dropped a little bit of time to the rest of the guys behind. Anyway, I still have the same attitude, the same desire for the remaining days of the race. We’ll go out with the same pace and the same concentration as in the last few days.

Joan Barreda  88


The stage was difficult. The first part had a lot of sand and I had a fall when I jumped over a dune. I tried to stay with Nacho, who kept a very high pace today, and in the final part, with a lot of navigation, I managed to catch him. We made a mistake on a note with about 40 kilometres to go, where we lost quite a few minutes. It’s a pity because otherwise it would have been a really good stage. We have to fight every day, giving it our best. There are still days to go, so we have to grit our teeth.

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