The pilot sponsored by DOGA has qualified today in 22nd place, the same position he holds in the provisional overall standings.
“It has been a clean stage, without issues. It’s a pleasure to race like this, and if it were up to me, I would do it every day.”
The pilot from Oliana has been the second best Spaniard to complete the stage with his BV6 prototype equipped with adapted controls on the steering wheel.
We were eager to complete a trouble-free stage to be able to demonstrate our true race pace. This is how Isidre Esteve expressed himself at the end of Stage 8 of the 2019 Dakar Rally, in which he achieved a 22nd place that becomes his best partial result since he started competing in cars. The Repsol Rally Team pilot also climbs to the 22nd provisional position in the overall standings, with only two days left until the end.
The stage started early in the morning from San Juan de Marcona, where Isidre Esteve commented, “Today is going to be a good day, for sure,” just before heading to the start of the special. His words turned out to be prophetic, as the Catalan driver and his co-driver Txema Villalobos delivered a brilliant performance, with impressive times at all the waypoints.
“We set a strong pace from the beginning, and finally, we had a clean day, except for two small hiccups in the dunes where we lost very little time, thanks to the great work by Txema,” summarized Isidre Esteve upon arriving at the Pisco camp.
The stage, divided into two sections of 159 and 200 kilometers, turned out to be less challenging than expected for the Repsol Rally Team, despite the high temperatures that, at times, exceeded 40ºC and the hundred kilometers of dunes.. “The first part was on tracks and fesh-fesh, and the second part had a lot of dunes, although the sand was harder than on other days. We didn’t have any navigation issues, and the car is working perfectly, thanks to the fantastic mechanical work of the entire team. It’s a pleasure to race like this, and if it were up to me, I would do it every day,” explained the Catalan driver with satisfaction.
His time of 5 hours, 26 minutes, and 39 seconds has placed him in the 22nd position, allowing him to improve upon the 23rd place he secured in the 13th stage of 2018. This result had been his best in the Dakar since he started competing on four wheels, until today. Furthermore, today he finished as the second best Spanish driver in cars, only surpassed by Nani Roma (MINI) and ahead of Carlos Sainz, the winner of the previous edition of the Dakar.
In the overall standings, the DOGA-sponsored pilot climbs two positions and rises to the 22nd provisional place, with a cumulative time of 44 hours, 14 minutes, and 34 seconds. With two stages and a total of 425 timed kilometers remaining, he is very close to the top 20.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the penultimate day of the race with both the start and finish in Pisco. Participants will need to complete 409 kilometers tomorrow: 96 kilometers of liaison and 313 kilometers timed. The dunes and navigation will share the spotlight in a day that will undoubtedly bring new surprises.“We will try to replicate today’s performance with the belief that in the end, the Dakar we wanted will come true,” concluded Isidre Esteve.