The 360 km first special of stage 8 headed east on a rutted piste alongside railroad tracks where, one a day, the 220 car colossus train transports iron ore from Zouerat’s open pit mines to the coast. The landscape was extremely inhospitable with constantly blowing sand creating dangerous traps. The railroad is also the source of man made hazards which destroy tires and endanger anyone who rode too close. Following a short break to refuel and rehydrate the day continued with a second special which led over a 50 km wide stretch of dunes. While the race leaders made the dunes look easy some of the less experienced riders and teams backed out of the special and arrived to the bivouac in Atar along the service route.
The stage win was claimed for the first time this year by Julian Merino with Lukasik/Rezny making a strong statement in the car class by finishing over 20 minutes ahead of their nearest competior. The Buggy/UTV class was won by Jose Sanchez and Erik Lesak won the Quads/ATV class. In the over all standings the first place remains in the firm grasp of Victor Rivera while Lukas Cerny and Julian Merino moved into the 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The car race remains open with Glad enjoying a 45 minute lead over the Desert Warrior of Rally for Africa and the Wings Team Nissan Patrol almost two hours behind. Only a mechanical failure or injury can prevent Jose Sanchez and Erik Lesak from winning as they are the last competitors still in the race in their respective class.