Brutal weather conditions have struck another blow to the 2017 Edition of the Dakar Rally, with stage nine now officially cut from the rally.

In a release, Dakar organisers stated one of the main causes for the cancellation of the stage being a massive landslide caused by the weather, which hit the town of Volcan and caused severe damage.

From the official release:

“A massive landslide caused by thunderstorms happened this morning at 10.30am on the road used to join the bivouac, 40 kilometers north of Jujuy, 160kms away from Salta, hitting the village of Volcan. According to the Argentinian civil security, victims are deplored in the population and considerable damage has been observed.

“The organization offered its sanitary facilities to reinforce the local safety support on site.

“As the road is cut off, most of the vehicles, competitors, assistance and logistics from the Dakar caravan were diverted on an alternative route through San Antonio de los Cobres, extending the distance of the liaison by about 200km.  They will not be able to reach the Salta bivouac in time to start the race tomorrow.

“A number of larger vehicles will not be able to use that road either.

Walter Nosiglia Jager racing stage 8. Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

“Tomorrow’s day will be devoted to regroup the race caravan in Chilecito to continue the event by giving the start on the 12th of January of stage 10, between CHILECITO and SAN JUAN.”Stage eight was also hit by the poor weather conditions, but coming out of the muddy stage it was a second stage triumph for Monster Energy Honda rider Joan Barreda who commanded from start to finish in both specials. The Spaniard once again gave a master class in a race hampered by the weather.

The stage, the second leg of the two-day marathon stage which set off yesterday from La Paz bound for Uyuni, was shortened by 72 kilometres due to a flooded river crossing in Bolivia. The day was split into two timed-sections, one covering 174 km on Bolivian soil, before crossing the border into Argentina for another, 246 km long.

Joan Barreda went full-throttle right off the bat, determined to take the stage victory. The Spaniard clocked the fastest time of the 110 bike category entrees who left the bivouac from Uyuni this morning. The bikers were faced with innumerable hazards in the Bolivian mud. Once onto Argentine terrain the Monster Energy Honda Team rider really let loose, not letting up until the final flag where he sealed victory. The win marks the second triumph for Barreda and the third for the team after the Ricky Brabec’s win yesterday.

“There were a lot dangers out there at the start of the special, said Barreda. A lot of water, a lot of mud and mist to make the visibility more complicated. But I got to enjoy the final 300 kilometres and I was able to open the throttle a bit more. By the end, the tyres had taken a fair beating from the marathon stage and were skidding a lot. But it was great fun to finish at the front and with the best time too.”

On-form team-mate Michael Metge had another enjoyable romp behind the bars, posting fourth spot amid the chaos. In fact, as yet, none of the riders or assistance crew have been able to arrive at the bivouac in Salta. The entourage is held up some 200 km away from the destination after a landslide blocked the access route to the city.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves performed well in a bid to claw back lost time. Stage 7 winner Ricky Brabec had it tough, having to open the track after yesterday’s win. The American was overtaken by Paulo Gonçalves and followed his team-mates trail to conclude the special without any serious loss of time.

Sam Sunderland still leads the rally after stage 8. Photo courtesy Red Bull Content Pool

In the overall standings Red Bull KTM rider Sam Sunderland still holds onto the top spot after a relatively clean run through stage 8.


Dakar Rally 2017 standings at the end of stage 8

  1. Sam Sunderland – KTM
  2. Pablo Quintanilla – Husqvarna
  3. Adrien Van Beveren – Yamaha
  4. Matthias Walkner – KTM
  5. Gerard Farres Guell – KTM