The bikers and quad riders took the shortest route from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi, a road section nearly 500 kilometres long, with no rain this time round. Meanwhile, a bit further south, the car and truck drivers went head to head in a special tailored to the masters of trajectories and changes of pace. The wily desert foxes came out on top on a course that alternated from sand to stones and from canyons to wadis
A pattern is starting to emerge at the top of the Dakar Classic! The general standings remain mostly unchanged, but a trend is starting to take shape with a double match among friends. The Spaniards of the Moma Raid team Juan Morena and Lidia Ruba, on the one hand, and Carlos Santaolalla and Aran Sol i Juanola, on the other hand, continue to hoover up the top 2 finishes without any changes in the balance of power between the two crews. In the fight for the bottom step of the podium, the Belgian Erik Qvick and his co-driver, Jean-Marie Lurquin, saw Dirk Van Rompuy and Christiaan Michel Goris surge in their rear-view mirror. Crew no. 728 were the big winners of a day on which they dragged themselves back into contention against their compatriots, although they will have to bring their A game to take the fight to the Catalans. Perhaps tomorrow, in one of the regularity tests, where the navigation challenges are said to have the potential to shake up the race. The Spanish school, which places more emphasis on off-road racing than the Belgians, has the edge on paper. Stay tuned for stage 8 tomorrow!