Sand dunes, camel grass and horrible visibility made the 660km Special in the Rally even more difficult for the Dakar riders, but not for U.S. Red Bull KTM Dakar Team rider Kellon Walch. According to the official Dakar website, “Not a worry however for newcomer Kellon Walch who took advantage of his late starting position to capture the best times at the first two check points (km 256 and 397)? the very promising Kellon Walch discovered what the Dakar really was all about. The young 22 year old American from the KTM Red Bull, finished the special close to 20 (minutes) behind the day’s winner.” Kellon finished the day in the 10th position, now 16th overall.

Silent, but extremely fast Team rider Chris Blais has been quickly darting up the ranks. Today in the sandy marathon stage he placed 12th to locate himself in the 10th overall position. He is only fifty-seven minutes and forty-seven seconds behind the leader, KTM mounted Marc Coma. Second year veteran, Scot Harden completed the longest stage of the rally in the 25th position, now sitting comfortably in the 18th overall spot.

Stage 8, from Tichit to Tidjikja will contain a modified 130km Special, as the rest of the Special will be covered as a liaison due to difficult weather conditions. The Dakar website explains: “This stage is a real best of. It will include several stretches of the greatest Specials raced in the region over the last 20 years.

Competitors will have sand and sand and sand…But along with the many dunes to be crossed, there will also be several difficult passes to find, for which competitors who need could request the GPS de-blocking codes. After climbing the Nega pass, which becomes more and more difficult every year, drivers must follow a rocky and sinuous track to Tidjikja.”


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