Twice a day the 3 km long train loaded with iron ore rumbles east towards the coast, we followed the same tracks inland for 300 km. While impossible to get lost the proximity to the heavily used line presents its own set of challenges: sharp metal objects discarded by the train crew and covered by sand drifts are like scimitars when encountered at full speed and destroyed tires are a common occurrence. And the sand drifts can be so unpredictable that sometimes the bikers choose to ride upon the railroad ties. The stage ended with a short but difficult 50 km long section through large dunes finally finishing in Atar, the administrative center of the Adrar region, an area as big as Romania.
The day belonged to the trio of Aventura Tuareg riders led by the race leader Antonio Valero. The Wings Nissan Patrol put in an exceptional effort finishing 45 minutes ahead of their nearest competitor, the Speed Company Land Cruiser. The Wings Team is the car to watch as they are in the 3rd place overall. In the past races they had the history of being involved in spectacular crashes. It is to be seen if they are going to slow down or take risks and keep attacking. In the UTV class the two Motorauto Almeria UTVs finished together and continue their strong performance with Jose Sanchez Tapia in 10th overall.
Stage 9 takes us to Chinguetti, the medieval town on the intersection of several trans-Saharan trade route and World Heritage Site. Unfortunately there will be little time for sightseeing as the stage will be technically very challenging and will push everyone to the limit.