Five-time Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres finally put his new Yamaha on the top step today as Aussies also had their best finishing results.
Rain slightly shortened stage eight to a still-lengthy 499km, but the riders had to avoid the world’s largest salt pans.
Despres started third and soon reined in the leader Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) with three-time winner Marc Coma (KTM) following in third.
Coma still heads the standings followed by Bort and Coma’s water carrier Jordi Viladoms.
Promising Sherco rider Alain Duclos lost 35 minutes with mechanical problems finishing 23rd but is still outright fourth.
The remaining three Aussies had a good day in the high latitudes of Bolivia and Chile with Shane Diener (Yamaha) recording his best special stage finish of 27th moving up a couple of places to 53rd outright.
KTM riders Allan Roberts and Tory O’Connor again finished close together with a 35th and 41st to be 44th and 43rd outright.