The weather in South America is wreaking havoc on the Dakar race. A section of stage eight ended up being significantly modified to a more neutralized section near the end of the Bolivian part. However, the stage was a victory for both Peugeot and Sébastien Loeb.
The weather has been rough on the entire northern region of the continent. Dakar officials have needed to modify the stages many times so far.
Peugeot has once again taken the top three slots of the race. Loeb took advantage of his starting position and overtook Stéphane Peterhansel, ending the stage with a three minute lead. Peterhansel still retains a podium finish in second place and Cyril Despres made his way back up near the front of the pack giving Peugeot the entirety of the podium for the day.
Erik Van Loon has putting the throttle down during the stage, though he trails behind the lead over five hours in his Toyota Hilux.
The top five racers in the car category are were not very spread out in stage eight. Fourth place finisher Mikko Hirvonen trailed behind Loeb a short eight minutes while Geniel De Villiers was only a few minutes behind Hirvonen. In the general standings, Peterhansel is only behind by a minute and a half. The pack spreads out from there on, however. Despres, Nina Roma and Hirvonen round out the top five with a nearly one hour gap between the lead and fifth slots.
Loeb had a strong day. He kept a pace that no one else was able to match and easily took first for the stage and retook first in the general standings.
Peterhansel started strongly. Within minutes he was distancing himself from the pack but unfortunately for the Frenchman, his lead came to an end approximately 110 kilometers (68 miles) when he had to slow down on the course. Loeb took the lead and ran away with it. He continued to distance himself further from his teammates and fellow racers all through the end of the stage; The others just could not keep his pace.
The Dakar is now back into Argentina and is still dealing with serious weather complications. Stay tuned!