When gearbox trouble struck for Cyril Despres 30km into the marathon stage of the bike race it looked like his dream of a fifth Dakar victory was over for this year. However, help arrived from Orlen Team’s Marek Dabrowski who offered to swap engines with Cyril.

After Stage Eight the gap between Cyril and the top of the timings in the bike race stands at 24m26s. Now Cyril has the Rest Day to plot his tactics for clawing back this time in the second week of the race.

“With the help of Marek and my team-mates Ruben Faria, Kurt Caselli and Joan Pedrero we took two hours to change both engines. It goes without saying that I owe all the guys a huge debt of gratitude. It was a very eventful day at the Dakar that’s for sure.”

Nasser and co-driver Lucas Cruz had made a bright start to the stage before the heavens opened and the day turned into a washout. Nasser’s Buggy was the fastest car over the first 100km before Stage Eight came to an unscheduled stop.

The ultimate decision of the race stewards was to hand all of the cars that were unable to complete the stage the same time as the last competitor who finished before the neutralisation. This revised result keeps Nasser in second place overall and trailing Stephane Peterhansel by just 3m14s.

“It was our plan to come to the Rest Day with the lead but sometimes we must accept what will be. There’s still a long way to go at this race and after the Rest Day I will start the following stage as the sixth car. This will give me a great chance to make up some time in this race.”

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