In Stage 8, the final part of the Marathon stage from Sakaka to Neom, Sebastian Buhler put in his best performance yet by finishing in P10, his first ever top ten finish in Dakar. The strong finish has now pushed him up from P21 to P19 in the overall standings. Teammate Joaquim Rodirigues however, didn’t have a satisfactory stage. After a strong P8 finish yesterday, JRod had a small accident earlier today and had to slow down to make it back to the bivouac safely. He finished Stage 8 in P25 but has retained his P16 spot on the overall leaderboard.
Post race, a happy Seb said, “I am happy to be in the Top 10 today and to see one more stage in the books. Stage 8 was difficult because we did not have any mechanical assistance yesterday, so we needed to take care of the bike. But because we took care of the bike and had good tyres to start today, we could get good times and we managed to get a good result due to that.”
Joaquim Rodrigues on the other hand had a difficult stage as he hit a rock and hurt his shoulder from the impact. He had to slow down considerably to get himself back to the bivouac safely. Despite the pain and discomfort, he managed to finish the stage P25. JRod said, “Things didn’t go that well this morning as I hit a rock and though I didn’t have a crash but hurt my arm and shoulder while tackling it. From there on I struggled a lot as I had to slow down quite a bit and somehow managed to get my bike to the bivouac. So, I am happy that I am back at the bivouac reunited with my team but now I need to get my shoulder checked to ensure that we are all good for tomorrow.”
Stage 9 will be the second loop stage of the season and is a total of 574km, including a 465km timed stage. The stage is rumoured to be one of the hardest in Dakar as it offers a variety of terrain surfaces from beaches to rocky tracks and fast sandy tracks as well. Sebastian Buhler will look to finish in the top ten again whereas JRod’s focus will primarily be on recovering from the impact and getting back to 100 per cent ready for whatever lies ahead tomorrow.