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Dakar: Aussie Smith on form as Sunderland still leads | Off-Road | Sport

Day: 8 2017 Dakar Rally

Day: 8

Course: 892km

Special: 417km (reduced and split into two parts)

HRC’s Joan Barreda (Spain) became the first rider to win more than one stage at this year’s Dakar Rally after the Honda rider lead the two-part special from start to finish. Despite his charge, Barreda is still feeling the brunt of last week’s one-hour penalty and sits ninth overall in the standings, 1h01m behind the leader.

It was Red Bull KTM duo Mattias Walkner (Austria) and Sam Sunderland (Britain) who rode the smartest during the eighth day, the second of the marathon stage, with the latter extending is lead in the overall standings to 22m58s with his third-place finish, while Walkner’s second-place stage result lifted the Austrian one place to fourth overall.

“It’s been a long stage,” said Sunderland. “I stopped a few times to change my goggles and change my gloves and silly things, just because it was too much. I couldn’t see the roadbook.

“Everybody is going to have problems at some point and I think it’s how you manage them, how you can stay safe and try to not lose such big, big amounts of time. I think you win [Dakar] on the bad days, not on the good days.”

Matthias Walkner (AUT) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 7 of Rally Dakar 2017 from La Paz to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 9, 2017

Matthias Walkner (AUT) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 7 of Rally Dakar 2017 from La Paz to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 9, 2017

Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla (Chile) finished the stage 7m07s behind Barreda in sixth but hangs on to his second place in the overall rankings, 8m09s ahead of Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren (France), who finished 10th quickest in the day’s stage.

Australia’s Todd Smith (KTM) has continued his stellar form to finish the day’s stage 12th fastest, just 18m55s behind the on-form factory Honda rider, Joan Barreda. The result lifts the 31-year-old from 15th to 12th in the overall standings and he remains the highest placed Aussie after Toby Price’s stage four crash which left him with a broken left femur.

The official results don’t reveal Aussie Matthew Hart’s (Husqvarna) final position after the eighth stage. The live timing showed the Australian finished the 417km special sections in 39th position, 40m33s off Barreda’s time, to sit 55th overall, though history tells us a lot can change between the timing sheets and the published results due to unadjusted penalties, etc. Stay tuned.

Walter Nosiglia Jager (BOL) of Mecteam Nosiglia races during stage 08 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Uyuny, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 10, 2017

Walter Nosiglia Jager (BOL) of Mecteam Nosiglia races during stage 08 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 10, 2017

Stage   Overall

Barreda (Spain)            1st       9th

Sunderland (GBr)         3rd       1st

Walkner (Aut)               2nd      4th

Van Beveren (Fra)        10th     3rd

Quintanilla (Por)           6th       2nd

Smith (Aus)                  12th     12th

Hart (Aus)                     39th (TBC)       55th (TBC)

Sam Sunderland (GRB) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 08 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Uyuny, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 10, 2017

Sam Sunderland (GRB) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 08 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 10, 2017