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2015 Dakar: Wet Salt Causes Multiple Abandons in Stage 8, Quintanilla Wins

Once again, the Dakar Rally shows how unpredictable such competitions can be, and how quickly can things change in favor of racers who are more or less likely to make real claims for the victory. Navigation played a key role in the eighth stage of the 2015 Dakar, as the bikes and quads have been on their second marathon stage which had them cross the salt flats of Uyuni en route back to Iquique.
2015 Dakar, Barreda alone on the salt flats 12 photos
2015 Dakar, Stage 8, bikes on a salt flat2015 Dakar, Stage 8, wet salt2015 Dakar, Stage 8, navigating the sea of salt2015 Dakar, Stage 8, repairs in the middle of nowhere2015 Dakar, Stage 8, Pedrero Garcia2015 Dakar, Stage 8, Barreda Bort2015 Dakar, Stage 8, Marc Coma2015 Dakar, Stage 8, sleeping riders2015 Dakar, Stage 8, Marc Coma looks happy2015 Dakar, Stage 9 map2015 Dakar, Stage 9 profile
The leader of the general ranking, Joan Barreda was not able to pick the best route and was even towed by Israel Esquerre. His Honda team mate Helder Rodrigues did not fare any better, and the two kissed their chances for a podium goodbye, due to losing around three hours in Stage 8.

For more riders in top 20 left the competition, too. Jordi Viladoms blew his engine, and Alessandro Botturi, Michael Metge and Daniel Gouet also put an end to their 2015 Dakar presence. During the two marathon stages the competitors are left without tech support and in case something goes wrong with their machines, they have to make do with whatever they are carrying and repair the vehicles themselves.Supporting the factory rider sometimes means giving him your own handlebars
Joan Barreda broke his handlebar yesterday and he had to attempt to find a solution to get him through to Iquique, but as nobody carries a spare, he was helped by a member of the Honda South America Rally Team. Argentinian Demian Guiral gave Barreda his own handlebar, but it was just not good enough to hold the distance.Stage win for Quintanilla
KTM rider Pablo Quintanilla claimed his first stage victory in Dakar, as he has constantly improved his riding skills and adapted very well to the pace of this year’s edition. Stage 8 was a very close competition, as Yamaha’s Juan Pedrero Garcia finished the round 11 seconds adrift Quintanilla and was followed by Slovakian Stefan Svitko, only one second adrift. The top five also saw Toby Price and Laia Sanz, with the Spaniard girl reaching her best-ever stage finish.

With the recent developments in the 2015 Dakar, the General Ranking has been changed noticeably. Marc Coma, who took no unnecessary risks and finished Stage 8 in the 9th position is now leading, with more than 9 minutes ahead of Paulo Goncalves, who is exactly two minutes in front of Pablo Quintanilla. Toby Price and Stefan Svitko are also in top 5, with Laia Sanz 9th.

Stage 9 is the first on the road back to Buenos Aires, and contains a 450 km (280 miles) special stage, en route from Iquique to Calama.


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