Stage 8: Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir
Stage 8 was the longest day of the 2022 Dakar Rally, 830 km in total with a 395 km special. The teams left Al Dawadimi and headed to Wadi Ad Dawasir where they will spend the next 2 nights.
Andrew Houlihan (#62 – KTM), now travelling in the team van, said they spent just over 8hrs traveling today along dodgy roads with high side winds which moved the van around all over the place. At least there were no breakdowns today in the van!
The landscape changed today, with a lot of rocky hills and plateaus among the sandy open plains.
For the riders there were a lot of dunes – big dunes – and the Nomadas Adventure Coca-Cola riders had a mixed day.
Pablo Guillen (#35 – KTM) excelled today making no mistakes and cruising through the dunes with ease. He has great rhythm and speed in the dunes and this really showed with him finishing in 71st position.
Vasileios Boudros (#147 – Husqvarna) had a good day but got caught on a dune for a little while.
“The dunes were very large and soft today and they stretched for 126km. There were some very very steep dunes that I had to take a lot of care on today and I lost a little bit of time.” He finished in 97th position.
Toby Price (#18 – KTM), the only remaining Australian rider, also had a reasonable day finishing 6th in the stage. He admits he made some “small mistakes, it’s hard to not make any out there”.
Andrew Houlihan says he is getting stronger towards the end of the rally.
Price now sits 9th overall, 32 minutes behind overall leader Sam Sunderland (#3 – GasGas). Sunderland regained the overall lead after a blisteringly fast run in Stage 8.
Adrien Van Beveren (#42 – Yamaha) and last year’s winner Kevin Benavides (#1 – KTM), who were in the top 3 after Stage 7, both dropped significant amounts of time.
Benavides had a problem with the fuel pump on his KTM and had to stop twice to pass fuel from the front tank to the rear.
Van Beveren had an issue with his roadbook.
“The button on my roadbook broke in the first dunes, so I had to scroll it by hand. It wasn’t easy to ride like that. It was scary to be bounced around over the holes in the terrain with just one hand on the handlebars.” Adrien Van Beveren.
Stage 9 is a 491 km loop with a 287 km special mostly consisting of sand and dunes.
Andrew Houlihan is now based in the Al Dawadimi bivouac for the next 2 days.
“Our bivouac is in Al Dawadimi for the next 2 nights”, he says, “which will give me a good chance to rest and walk around, have good look at the bivouac and catch up with some friends.”