Francisco Lopez Contardo and his Aprilia won another stage of the Dakar Rally today in stage eight, the Chilean besting defending champion Marc Coma while overall leader Cyril Despres continued his march toward victory with a calculated fifth-place finish.
Despres and his Red Bull KTM continue to lead the event by over an hour after he ended the day fifth, six minutes and 43 seconds behind Lopez Contardo. The man who is second overall – KTM rider Pal Anders Ullevalseter – was third on the day and trails Despres by a hour and 20 mintues.
Lopez Contardo stands third overall, some 24 minutes behind Ullevalseter, after winning today’s stage that ran for 293 miles from Antofagasta and Copiapo in Chile.
Coma’s woes continued in this year’s edition as he was penalized with a six-hour penalty on Friday for an illegal tire change. Coma finished 42 seconds behind Lopez Contardo today. The Spaniard has now been penalized a total of six hours and 22 minutes in this year’s rally.
Yamaha’s David Fretigne was fourth in today’s stage and sits sixth overall.
American Jonah Street was 13th today. He is seventh overall after eight stages of the rally.