The overall standings of the 2013 Dakar were thrown on their head after complicated stage eight saw the majority of the top men get dramatically lost causing them to lose huge amounts of time during the day.
Yamaha Racing France rider Olivier Pain was the big loser of the day, having ridden a faultless Dakar the Frenchman slumped to 78th on the stage which means he has dropped from first overall to fourth 16m 10s off the lead.
He said: “"It was a terribly difficult day. Well, difficult, it's rather that we made a mistake. I was thinking that I had to stay focused and, right on cue, I made a mistake. I don't understand, everything seemed fine, Lopez went into a valley a bit too early and then he came back just in front of me, we were doing well.
And then we should have turned a bit more to the right but it was difficult with the rain. I’m the big loser today but of course, I know it isn’t all wrapped up yet; there will be further surprises during the second week. The aim is not to get hurt and to make it to Santiago. There's still a long way to go."
Cyril Despres looks to have got his Dakar back on track despite his problems yesterday which saw him have to change his engine himself on the marathon stage. He now lies fifth overall 24m 26s off the lead after taking a 15 minue penalty for makng an engine change.
He said: “At any rate, I've put my bad day behind me! It was yesterday, when my fifth gear broke down in what was a fast special. I lost time, but I was nevertheless lucky because my friend Marek Dabrowski gave me his engine and took mine yesterday evening at the marathon bivouac...
So today I was able to ride normally, and I could have pulled off a big coup today, because I almost took the right trail at the entrance of the río, but all the tracks went left, so in the end I followed them and came upon everyone riding around at sixes and sevens and looking at each other. When this happens,
I only look at my road book and the landscape... I didn't see some riders break away and I had to make a U-turn 500 m from the right trail, but that's the way it is... There are good days, less good days and great days, and I'm waiting for a great day!”
The result of Pain’s navigational errors and Despres problems mean that Yamaha man David Casteau now leads the overall standings by 11m 16s.
He said: “Today was a huge navigational success! I'm over the moon because it's difficult to ride at the front while attacking and keeping your bearings and navigating. I was able to keep my cool while everyone else was spinning around, but I stayed focused and was the first across the line... And leading the Dakar during the rest day, that's terrific!”
The stage win went to Speedbrain Husqvarna rider Joan Barreda – his third of the 2013 Dakar. The result mens he is still languishing down in 41st position after suffering a big crash, technical problems and being hit with a 15 minute penalty for making an engine change.
He said: “It was a good day, because after all the problems over the last few days, my hand feels better and better and I'm starting to ride at ease. I quickly caught up with the leaders, who were backtracking after a navigational mistake, and went flat out from then on, but in the last kilometres it was my turn to make a navigational mistake and David Casteu overtook me. Anyway, I'm happy nevertheless because I navigated quite well and I'm happy to add another stage win to my tally.”