Stage 8, the second half of the marathon stage, will take riders on a 709 kilometre journey from Sakaka to Neom where they will meet up again with their support teams.

The stage is broken up into an initial 226km liaison, 375km special and finally a 108km liaison into Neom.

There is a checkpoint 307km into the special, and fuel is available at the beginning of the special and then again 229km into it.

Around half of the special will be on rocky tracks with the rest sand, but today the riders will not have to deal with dunes.

While 85 bikes are expected to lineup for today’s stage, 11 of those are now on the “Dakar Experience”. These riders are continuing in the rally but are not considered in the overall standings.

Coca-Cola Nomadas Adventure rider Pablo Guillen (#35 – KTM 450RFR) will start the special at 08:56:30 today, with teammate Andrew Houlihan (#62 – KTM 450RFR) 2 minutes behind him.

After taking the stage win yesterday Ricky Brabec said that he thinks the best strategy in this year’s Dakar is not to open the stage, but that’s exactly what he will have to do today.

He will lead the bikes out today, hoping not to fall down the order as every other rider who has opened a  stage has done.

And watch out for Toby Price today. He is riding on a very badly damaged rear tyre held together with race tape and zip ties. If he can get through today’s stage that will be a miracle.

You can follow the live timing here.