The first Special in Chile was in many respects similar to the previous one in Argentina. Gerard de Rooy drove in his Iveco Powerstar an average speed of more than 101 kilometers per hour. Sometimes reaching maximum speeds of 150 km/hr.
Gerard de Rooy at the finish: “It was very fast. At the end, Karginov has taken back 5 minutes. We still have half an hour in our favor so it's not that bad. But in the trucks half an hour is not that much, so if we have a problem or get stuck or have a puncture it immediately takes a lot of time. In a car replacing the tire after a puncture takes three minutes, but with a truck it will take fifteen minutes. So, half an hour is nothing, but we're trying to keep it steady and drive a safe race. We had a good pace today and could keep up with the leading Kamaz. We didn't take too many risks, only one time where we almost missed the corner, but that was it”.
During the stage, Kamaz drivers Karginov and Sotnikov played the tactical game. The Iveco Powerstar was between two KAMAZ trucks and overtaking was almost impossible. Sotnikov drove fast but not full throttle, followed by Gerard de Rooij. Meanwhile Karginov was therefore able to close the gap. De Rooy was very able to control the situation, despite being forced between Kamaz vehicles and not having so much space for maneuver.
At the finish line, Karginov was the winner, gaining time on Gerard. He clocked a time of 2:53:32, followed by Gerard 5:15 minutes back. Sotnikov was third losing 6:55 minutes.
Good performances also for the other Iveco drivers: Hans Stacey finished in ninth place with a gap of 15:17 minutes. The quick service Iveco trucks, loaded with spare parts, did very well. Jo Adua finished in 11th place, followed by Pep Vila in a fine 13th place.
In the overall standings there are minimal changes. De Rooy maintains his leading position in his Iveco Powerstar, 32:35 minutes in front of stage winner Karginov. Nikolaev and Sotnikov also kept their positions; only Loprais passed Hans Stacey and is 5th now, 6:55 minutes ahead of the Iveco driver, who is 6th place in the overall standings. Pep Vila follows in 7th place and Jo Adua holds the 12th position.
After the tests of the last days, the truck drivers were in close distance of each other but very difficult days are ahead now. Specials with difficult sand to cross are on the program. It is expected that the time differences will become much bigger.
The ninth stage from Calama to Iquique is one of the most expected, in particular for the big dunes of sand. The last three kilometers to the Pacific Ocean has a descent with a height difference of 1,000 meters, an average gradient of 30 %. Today, after the start, there will be a liaison of 37 kilometres, followed by the Special of 422 kilometres. The first 160 miles are on a hard surface with many stones. Followed by a route over sandy surface and finally the last 40 kilometers thru the huge dunes.