The athletes half-circled and crossed the "Salar de Uyuni", the biggest salt flat in the world.
The eighth stage of the Rally Dakar ended on Monday with the second part of the marathon stage. The riders had to race through the stunning landscapes of the Altiplano plateau from Bolivia to Chile. The whole stage was held at an altitude of 3,500 metres, making it an enormous challenge for man and machine.
The four riders of the Speedbrain customer race team played it safe. There was no possibility to attack anyway. Jeremias Israel Esquerre maintained his fifth place in the overall classification despite a small damage to his frontbrake. He took no risk ahead of Tuesday´s stage on home territory, where he wants to have a strong showing for his fans and his main sponsor MAPFRE.
Bolivia´s "Chavo" Salvatierra defended his good position in the overall ranks as well. No worries too for Paolo Ceci and Pedro Oliveira.
Jeremias Israel Esquerre: "Two days of marathon stage are always tough. This time it was even tougher because I damaged my frontbrake yesterday. Therefore I decided to ride my Speedbrain 450 Rally with a lot of caution, which really is a great bike. I´m happy I defended my position and now I´m looking forward to a special type of homecoming. I´m highly motivated and plan to attack."
Tuesday brings a rather short stage of 450 kilometres. The special test ends with 150 km through the spectacular dunes of Iquique.
Provisional result - Dakar 2014, Stage 8:
1. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) 05:23:20 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:02:09
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:02:15
4. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:06:38
5. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:10:40
6. Michael Metge (FRA, Yamaha) +00:12:58
7. Riaan van Niekerk (ZAF, KTM) +00:13:15
8. Daniel Gouet (CHL, Honda) +00:13:23
9. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +00:13:29
10. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:13:34
13. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:14:51
20. Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL, Speedbrain) +00:32:09
26. Paolo Ceci (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:35:47
37. Pedro Oliveira (PRT, Speedbrain) +00:41:59
Provisional overall standings:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 32:06:19 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:38:08
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +01:27:22
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +01:49:09
5. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +01:52:05
6. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +01:59:07
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +02:06:06
8. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +02:12:41
9. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +02:23:58
10. Daniel Gouet (CHL, Honda) +02:38:51
16. Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL, Speedbrain) +04:18:59
24. Pedro Oliveira (PRT, Speedbrain)+06:38:13
25. Paolo Ceci (ITA, Speedbrain) +06:40:20