BARREDA BOUNCES BACK TO WIN STAGE TWO AT DAKAR
The longest stage of the 2015 Dakar Rally dished out plenty of drama and excitment and in the end it was Honda’s Joan Barreda who claimed the win…
A steady fourth place on a quick first stage where there was more to lose than to win, Joan Barreda got the show on the road during the first major special stage of the Dakar with an imposing victory. Sam Sunderland experienced disillusion by getting lost for a (very) long time 70 km from the finish.
Already a ten times stage winner on the Dakar, Joan Barreda has had to content himself so far with a 7th final position as his personal best, which can be qualified as a disappointment for the Spaniard who appears to be determined to do his utmost for victory in 2015.
“I am really happy. Today was amazing,” told Barreda. “It was really hard, really tough in the last part of special with a lot of tracks and a lot of bumps and it was so physical. But today was one of these days where it is important to get to the finish and we’ve got here so we are really happy.
“I was alone in some parts, but the most important was to remain calm over the first kilometres and finally we did a really good job. I think it’s a good opportunity for victory but the race is really close, so if we can perform like today and gain some minutes and seconds, then it’s very important”.
This goal is perfectly within his reach, since the Honda rider continued his collaboration with HRC with a victory on the second stage of the rally between Villa Carlos Paz and San Juan. Battling with Marc Coma and Sam Sunderland all along the 518-km special, Barreda finally benefited from his rivals’ problems at the end of the stage.
Coma suffered problems with his tyres and had to ease off the pace over the last 60 kilometres to make sure he reached the finish whilst yesterday’s winner got lost for up to two hours whilst trying to find the right track and can more or less kiss goodbye to his ambitions in the general standings.
Paulo Gonçalves came up trumps again with another second place that allows him to consolidate his second place in the general standings, though today he did lose six minutes to Barreda.
“In the middle of the stage I lost a little bit of time trying to find a way point,” said Goncalves. “I lost the others and for the last 200 km I was on my own. This was a really typical Dakar stage; it wasn’t a normal Dakar stage, but one with a high amount of difficulty”.
In third place, nine minutes behind, Ruben Faria achieved the performance of the day on completion of a very physically demanding stage, only two months after an operation on a broken collar bone. He beat Jordi Viladoms by four seconds, whilst debutants Toby Price and Matthias Walkner made a big impression by taking 5th and 6th place at the finishing line.
“The first 150 kilometres, I did really well,” explained Walkner. “But then when I caught the man in front of me, there was so much dust and I was riding, like, 200 to 300 metres behind him. Then I came past him and got lost again. I was thinking that I was in around 15th to 10th position and that 8th would be pretty good. Of course I’m surprised to be near the front, but for the navigation it’s different. I think when it gets more heavy for the navigation then I will lose more time to the leaders”.
Laia Sanz is 16th overall.
It was a case of what could have been for the youngster Llel as he spent much of this, the longest ‘special stage’ of the rally, moving steadily but surely up the leader board. Up as high as 57th position by waypoint 12, from a start position of 84th, things were going well.
On course for a great result a “silly crash” due to tiredness cost him dear as loose wires caused the battery to fail and needed fellow competitors to help jump-start the bike many times in the last 40kms.He’s one place behind his father Si in 82nd.