- 4th on stage for Al-Attiyah/Baumel
- 15th on stage for Variawa/Murphy
- 22nd on stage for De Villiers/Haro
“The Marathon Stage is always a nervous time for us, especially as it followed straight after the rest day,” said TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team Principal, Glyn Hall, from the bivouac at Neom, where the service crews are awaiting the arrival of the race crews after Stage 8. “So, we have to trust that we got everything absolutely spot-on during yesterday’s service, before sending the race crews off to complete a stage, stay over in a bivouac where they have to prepare their own cars for the next day, and then race another full stage to the next bivouac. Today’s stage was strewn with rocks, and we were grateful for the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that we adapted from the production GR Yaris for our race cars. The system has worked extremely well and is invaluable in terrain where a slow puncture could go unnoticed by the crew. Overall, we are happy that Nasser and Mathieu managed to stay in touch with the lead, while Shameer and Dennis recorded yet another great result. Unfortunately, Giniel and Alex had four punctures and lost a fair amount of time. Even so, they are still in the Top 10, which is good for us.”
Al-Attiyah/Baumel started the stage at a good pace, but suffered a puncture early on. This forced them to slow their progress, but they remain in second place overall, 7min 53sec behind overall leader, Stéphane Peterhansel.
A solid 15th position on Stage 7 saw Variawa and Murphy move up one position in the overall standings, and the pair are in 31st place now, 7hr 6min and 02sec behind the overall lead. Stage 7 brought disappointment for De Villiers/Haro, who lost 48min 12sec on the day, after suffering four punctures. They have, however, moved into 8th place overall, just shy of three hours behind the lead.
Stage 8 follows and will see the crews race from Sakaka to the bivouac at Neom via a stage of 709km. This comprises a liaison section of 334km, and a timed stage of 375km over sandy and stony tracks. This will see the race cars reunited with the technical crews, in preparation for the final four stages of this year’s event, which is set to finish on January 15th in the Saudi city of Jeddah.