Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has won stage eight of the 2024 Dakar Rally. The reigning champion currently lies fifth overall with four days left to race. Toby Price put in a strong ride to complete today’s 678-kilometer stage in fifth.

Thankfully for the riders, stage eight at Dakar lessened the intensity a little with the 458-kilometer timed special split into two – a 179-kilometer liaison joining the two very different halves. The first leg consisted mainly of sandy tracks and dunes, but the second half posed more of a challenge with stones and rocks covering much of the final 119 kilometers leading to the finish in Ha’il.

Times were tight on the stage, with the top six riders separated by less than two and a half minutes. Benavides came out on top however, skillfully navigating his way through the special to complete the day’s racing 31 seconds ahead of his brother, Luciano. Retaining his fifth place ranking in the provisional overall standings, Kevin continues to close in on the rally leaders, stage by stage.

Kevin Benavides: “It has been a really good day today – I really enjoyed the ride. The stage was split into two with the first part more sandy tracks and dunes, but with a lot of navigation. And the second part was more stone and mountains. The two guys opening the stage – my brother and Nacho (Cornejo) – did a really good job, but I was able to catch them both by the end. I’m so proud to win the stage and have a 1-2 with my brother. It means I’ll be opening tomorrow, so hopefully I will do a good job. I’ll give it my all as always.”

Delivering another solid stage performance at this year’s Dakar, Price held his own through the first half of the day, before steadily closing in on the leaders over the second, rougher half of the special. Finishing fifth, just over two minutes down on teammate Benavides, Toby will enjoy a strong start position for Tuesday’s stage nine, giving him another excellent opportunity to chase down the riders ahead and claw back time on the provisional rally leaders.

Toby Price: “Stage eight here at Dakar and we got through pretty decently, I’d say. No major mishaps or mistakes or anything today, so on that side it was good. The first half was all dunes and sand, then after a long liaison we went into the second part of the stage, which was all stones and off-piste tracks and stuff. The caps were a little harder to follow but it felt like we did a pretty decent job there too. I’m happy with fifth for the stage, and it gives us a good position for tomorrow, but we’re just not quite where we need to be on time. I’m feeling good though, having fun out there, and now I’ll look forward to tomorrow.”

Provisional Results – 2024 Dakar Rally, Stage 8

1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:35:03
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:35:34 +0:31
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:36:30 +1:27
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 3:36:44 +1:41
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:37:21 +2:18

Provisional Standings – 2024 Dakar Rally (after 8 of 12 stages)

1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 36:16:31
2. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 36:17:13 +0:42
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHL), Honda, 36:20:52 +4:21
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 36:28:29 +11:58
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 36:37:02 +20:31
Other KTM
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 36:45:41 +29:10