Torrot's GasGas Rally Team riders have made it through the longest special of the Dakar - 498 kilometres, which has been complicated by rain and mud, in addition to the dreaded fords through the rivers because of the current.
Johnny Aubert finished today's stage in eleventh position and has climbed two places in the general ranking and is now positioned in the top ten of the general classification. Jonathan Barragán has reached the Bolivian region of Tupiza in twentieth position and remains seventeenth in the time ranking. For his part, Cristian España continues with his own comeback and the Andorran rider recovered five positions today in the general classification, after his thirty-first position today. With this result, España is positioned as the thirty-ninth best rider of the 2018 Dakar.
The Dakar organization has decided to cancel the ninth stage of 754 kilometres scheduled for tomorrow, due to severe weather conditions with risk of flooding and storms. Tomorrow, the participants of the rally will leave the Bolivian Altiplano behind via a road link from Tupiza to Salta in Argentinian territory.
"Finally this first marathon stage of the rally has finished and we got through it very well. Jonathan [Barragán] lost a few minutes because he stopped to help a fellow rider who was not feeling too well, but the important thing is that we are all well and the bikes have gone perfectly. We have already completed the stage without assistance and now we only have to check the bikes to avoid problems that could have arisen from riding through the rivers or the mud.
The organization has canceled tomorrow's stage, so tomorrow we are going in convoy to Salta. Our riders are fine, as you know, but there are others who have not had such good luck and have suffered problems of altitude sickness. Luckily, our riders have overcome the problems of altitude well and have been able to make up positions. So far our assessment of the Dakar is super-positive."
"The marathon stage was quite tough, but it went well for both me and the team. Tomorrow's stage has been canceled due to bad weather, but we still have five difficult days ahead of us in Argentina. The whole team is still united and eager to get to Córdoba."
"The first part of the marathon stage was really difficult, with plenty of dunes and a lot of off-road. We are at a high altitude and that makes it even more complicated. Today was a tough day, with pretty fast tracks and I rode well. I remain in the front group of the general classification and now I am in tenth position. I'm very happy with all the GasGas Rally Team."
"The two marathon stages were very hard, with a lot of high altitude and that has taken its toll. Yesterday I had a small mechanical problem, but at night, thanks to the help of my team-mates, we managed to fix it in the bivouac. I lent my brake pads to Jonathan [Barragán] so that today he could go faster and together we fixed a problem with the exhaust on Johnny's [Aubert] bike. We managed to fix everything and here we are after a very long stage, which threw everything at us: dunes, stones, mud and more. We're happy, because we're still on track."