Sebastien Loeb’s bid to win the Dakar Rally on his maiden outing came undone on Stage 8 when the nine-time World Rally champion crashed his Peugeot.

Loeb had already lost time earlier on the 394km run from Salta to Belen, the first true desert stage of the rally, when he got stuck in sand. Then, just 11km from the finish, the Frenchman hit a hidden hole which pitched his car into a number of rolls. Both he and co-driver Daniel Elena were unhurt, but they lost more than an hour as they made repairs and limped to the finish. He slumps to eighth place in the overall standings and out of contention.

The other Peugeots of Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz had been quickest through most of the stage, but just missed out at the finish to a relieved Nasser Al-Attiyah, taking both his and Mini’s first stage win of the event. The margins weren’t big to effect the overall positions much; Peterhansel takes the lead after Loeb’s misfortune and Sainz and Al-Attiyah move up to second and third.

Former biker Cyril Despres had his showing of the rally so far, crossing the line fourth in his Peugeot, ahead of Mini trio Mikko Hirvonen, Nani and Orlando Terranova. Leeroy Poulter now leads the Toyota after an uncharacteristically poor showing by Giniel de Villiers.

Harry Hunt continues his run of top 15 stages times and holds onto 13th overall. Meanwhile, Patrick Sieyjol leads the production class runners in his Toyota Land Cruiser.

Elsewhere, a fourth stage win was enough for Toby Price to snatch the bike catergory lead on his KTM and quad category is increasingly looking like a straight fight between the Patronelli brothers, Marcos currently holding the advantage. Finally, Gerard de Rooy won the stage and takes the lead in the truck category.

Dakar Rally Stage 8 top ten finishers

  1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — 4:12:23
  2. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +0:12
  3. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +0:31
  4. Cyril Desores/David Castera — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +4:40
  5. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +6:42
  6. Nani Roma/Alex Haro Bravo — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +10:11
  7. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +11:37
  8. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +12:06
  9. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Gottschalk — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +14:21
  10. Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar — Vanloon Racing/Mini ALL4 Racing — +15:16

Dakar Rally top ten runners after 8 stages

  1. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — 26:01:44
  2. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +2:09
  3. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +14:43
  4. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +36:42
  5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +49:32
  6. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Gottschalk — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +54:19
  7. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +54:49
  8. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena¬†— Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +10:05:16
  9. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov — G-Energy Team/Toyota Hilux — +1:08:59
  10. Nani Roma/Alex Haro Bravo — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +1:28:21

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By Only Motors