2024 Dakar Rally stage eight results where Red Bull KTM’s Kevin Benavides snatched the stage win from his brother Luciano and Adrien Van Beveren who, like race leader Ricky Brabec, was playing it smart by backing off the throttle…


2024 Dakar Rally Stage 8 in a nutshell – Al Duwadimi > Ha’il, Special: 458km Liaison: 220km

  • Today’s endurance test in the Saudi desert, unusually, was a game of two halves. No jumpers for goal posts here though as the race got split by a whopping two-hour neutralised section of road riding in the special.
  • So it was 165km on the sand, 179km on the road and then 114km raced on rocky, mountain terrain (279km of timed special in total). It sounds like it makes it easier, maybe it is on the body, but not on the mind and riders had to race dunes, ride like a drone on the road, then race again two hours later.
  • Race leader Ricky Brabec was sailing today, setting a P1 pace all morning and physically overtaking his chief rival Ross Branch on the stage. But then he slowed to the point where a three-minute advantage became just 42 seconds.


  • What’s going on? Not for the first time Ricky employed a tactic of posting fastest check times then backing off a little after a refuelling or neutralised zone. Riders can gauge where rivals are at refuelling points and Ricky isn’t alone in adjusting his pace based on others around him on a close (in time) stage.
  • It carries risks because Brabec could have opened a much bigger gap over a rival Ross Branch today, but more importantly starting P7 tomorrow is a better plan on what promises to be a harder day.
  • “It’s been a tough day because there’s a little bit of games going on out there,” says Ricky. “Tomorrow is supposed to be tricky, so people are kind of slowing down, but we’ll see what happens. We’ve got four days left to go and hopefully all is good.”
  • Eating bonus points for breakfast again, the rider who has far and away led the most miles this Dakar, Jose Cornejo, was out front opening the piste once more. He was joined by Luciano Benavides for half the special with both accumulating bonus time which bumped them up the stage results – second for Luciano and fourth for Jose.
  • Fastest of all across the two halves were Kevin Benavides and Adrien Van Beveren who were nip and tuck for the stage fastest time only for K Ben to grab it when AVB basically stopped for a bit.
  • “I don't know what to say.” Adrien explains. “I don't like it when strategy takes precedence over sport. It's frustrating to have a stage like yesterday where you have to work like crazy, and the next day a short, easy stage where there's no point in attacking. The solution is to stop, but that's not what I like about racing, it's not what I like about sport. It's no fun, I don't like having to do it. I don't know if it will pay off, we'll see.”
  • Luciano Benavides nestles in between them on the daily podium thanks to his bonus time. Nacho grabs fourth for the same reason and Toby Price completes the top five on stage, just over two minutes down on what tuned out to be a pretty close one for the RallyGP riders.
  • We haven’t hardly mentioned them all Dakar but two Sherco riders were in the top 10 for much of the stage today, Rui Goncalves taking his best result of sixth.
  • Sherco’s Harith Noah led the Rally 2 category all day more or less and though he dropped one place to P11 scratch, the Indian rider claims his (and Sherco’s) first ever class stage win today.
  • If you are following EnduroGP Women’s World Champion Jane Daniels, as we are, you’ll want to know why she’s in 91st place. Her Fantic teammate Jeremy Miroir (also a former enduro champion) holed his engine today and dropped all his oil. Jane came along not too far behind and when they couldn't fix the hole, she basically towed him all the way, ticking off the remaining waypoints, out the stage and then all the way back to the bivouac. In total is was over 150km. Solidarity in enduro. 


2024 Dakar Rally Stage 8 results:


Provisional overall classification after stage 8, Rally GP class:


Provisional overall classification after stage 8, Rally 2 class:



Photo Credit: Rally Zone + Honda Racing + Sherco Factory