Defending champion Walkner fastest on the day as Price secures third.
Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) has taken control of the Dakar Rally lead following a strong performance in stage eight, although it was defending champion Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who topped the day.
Stage eight pitted the fastest 10 bikes, 10 cars and the top five trucks from the previous day together, setting off at three-minute intervals according to their stage seven results. At 360 kilometres, the timed special was the longest of the event and took competitors over fast, open pistes for the first half, before once again challenging them with the mountainous sand dunes.
Walkner navigated his way to a 3m55hm25s time, just a slender 45s ahead of former leader Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), while Price closely followed being just 1m13s behind the number on.
The top five was rounded out by Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), as Price leads the rally with a 1m3s advantage over Quintanilla, followed by Walkner, Sunderland and Adrien van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Rally).
Aussie Dakar rookie Ben Young (KTM) is now ranked 55th after finishing up 60th in the stage, while compatriot James Ferguson (KTM) was ruled out of the rally again after attempting to rejoin the race. Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Rally) was also ruled out of the competition earlier in the event.
Stage nine of the 2019 Dakar marks the second of the two mass-starts at the rally. In another looped stage, riders will leave Pisco and cover a total of 409 kilometres, 313 kilometres of which is a timed special, before returning to the coastal town.