The right combination of consistent results and issues for Monster Energy Can-Am teammate Aron Domzala have given American Austin Jones the T4 SSV and overall UTV leads of the Dakar Rally through Monday’s Stage 8, the conclusion of the Marathon stage. While Jones was only the fifth fastest racer to take on the 375 kilometers of special stage from Sakaka to Neom, he now boasts a nearly 20-minute lead over today’s stage winner Chaleco Lopez in the overall standings.
Lopez completed a sweep of the T4 and overall UTV wins on the Marathon stage with today’s victory, after organizers gave him 45 minutes back when he stopped to help a motorcycle rider who had crashed. The Chilean used a strong second half of the stage to claw past Sergei Kariakin and Reinaldo Varela for the top spot, as Saleh Alsaif and Jones completed the top five. Domzala, the incoming overall leader, lost 36 minutes on the day with mechanical struggles to finish 13th, and is now third in the T4 division.
As Jones looks to replicate Casey Currie’s feat last year as an American winner of the Dakar on Currie’s former team, the T3 lightweight prototype division is firmly in control of an American of its own. Seth Quintero’s pace continues to be untouchable, as the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver put a further 16:51 on second place Josef Machacek today. Thanks in part to teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero’s gearbox troubles knocking her out of the overall, Quintero now has more than four hours on Machacek for the T3 lead—and is within just 10:31 of Jones for the overall UTV advantage.
It was a great day for the factory Polaris RZR squad of Wayne and Kristen Matlock, as both racers scored top 20 finishes on the day in the T4 division. Wayne’s ninth place in T4 marked his first time in the top 10 in class, and 12th among all UTVs was his best stage finish of the rally. As for Kristen, Monday marked her best finish of the rally since she stormed out of the gate in Stage 1.
Tuesday’s Stage 9 sees racers start and finish the day in Neom, kicking the day off at the edge of the Red Sea and racing 465 kilometers before heading back to the bivouac to gear up for the final three stages of the rally. NBCSN will air coverage of both days of the Marathon stage starting tonight at 6PM ET/3PM PT.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Winners
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 3:44:05
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 3:37:45
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|Class||T3 (Lightweight Prototype)||T4 (SSV)|
|1st||Seth Quintero, 336:23:19||Austin Jones, 36:12:48|
|2nd||Josef Machacek, +4:07:02||Chaleco Lopez, +20:51|
|3rd||Camelia Liparoti, +5:23:29||Aron Domzala, +31:31|
|4th||Philippe Pinchedez, +6:44:18||Sergei Kariakin, +48:24|
|5th||Jean-Luc Pisson, +6:56:53||Michal Goczal, +53:36|