Another special won by Antoine Meo
The hardest rally in the world is halfway through today as stage eight just finished this evening. So far the competition is tight in the motorcycle category with big names like Adrien van Beveren, Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and Kevin Benavides fighting for victory. There’s another 4500 km still to go before the great finale in Cordoba but, the list of potential winners is restraining every day.
Antoine Meo pushed hard today and managed to cross the finish line victorious. The Frenchman beat the American Ricky Brabec by 1m 8s claiming his second stage win in three days. The Australian rider Toby Price arrived third today 2m 45s behind Brabec. Meo is currently in the sixth position overall with a gap of 9.56 from leading van Beveren.
"I went flat-out from the start. I wanted to gain six or seven minutes on the leaders, and I'm happy with what I did today because I pushed to the limit. I stopped for two minutes to help Quintanilla, whose chain had come off. I fell at km 400, but both my bike and I are fine. It'll hurt my chances if tomorrow's stage is cancelled, but I'll try to salvage something on the way to Fiambalá. Everything's still up in the air!"
Adrien van Beveren remains the overall leader after stage eight with a 22s lead over Honda rider Kevin Benavides. The Austrian KTM rider, Matthias Walkner is in third position overall 6m 34 seconds behind. Van Beveren seems determined to keep his leading position but acknowledges that fight has just started.
"These mountain tracks require a laser-like focus and take their toll. We pushed really hard with Benavides, Price and Barreda in the final 150 kilometres. The fight has begun. I spent lots of time navigating at the front, but I like it even though it's more taxing. I'm happy with the way things are going and my sensations."
Unfortunately, the eight stage brought bad luck for Xavier de Soultrait who crashed in the special. The Frenchman was sixth in the overall standings but, he had to withdraw after breaking his left elbow and knee today.
Stage 8 results
1. A. MEO – KTM – 005:24:01
2. R. BRABEC – HONDA – 005:25:09 +00:01:08
3. T. PRICE – KTM – 005:26:46 +00:02:45
4. K. BENAVIDES – HONDA – 005:29:53 +00:05:52
5. S. SVITKO – KTM – 005:30:47 +00:06:46
6. M. WALKNER – KTM – 005:31:01 +00:07:00
7. A. VAN BEVEREN – YAMAHA – 005:32:45 +00:08:44
8. J. BARREDA BORT – HONDA – 005:36:01 +00:12:00
9. L. SANZ – KTM – 005:38:16 +00:14:15
10. J. AUBERT – GAS GAS RALLY REPLICA – 005:39:16 +00:15:15
Overall results after stage 8
1. A. VAN BEVEREN – YAMAHA – 27:22:03
2. K. BENAVIDES – 4HONDA – 27:22:25 +0:00:22
3. M. WALKNER – KTM – 27:28:37 +0:06:34
4. T. PRICE – KTM – 27:29:38 +0:07:35
5. J. BARREDA BORT – HONDA – 27:30:04 +0:08:01