Dakar Rally – Stage Seven
After Saturday’s rest day the Dakar Rally resumed it’s torturous trail with Joan Barreda winning stage seven in Bolivia.
The seventh stage of the motorcycle, raced at an average of over 3,700 metres above sea level but was shortened from 401 km to 104 km due to rain in the Salta region during the previous day. However it was still more than enough to push man and machine to the limit, but not enough to keep a lid on the rider standing second overall.
“It was a good day,” told stage winner Barreda. “I could push and gain some minutes back from Marc Coma. It was not so easy, some tricky sections with mud from last night’s rain. I am happy to be able to attack and I am confident for the coming stages.”
Joan Barreda made good use of his fifth place in this morning’s starting order to unleash a flurry of attacks and grab his third victory this year and the eighth one of his career – finishing four minutes and three seconds ahead of fellow countryman Marc Coma.
Coma – third rider to start – drove within his limits throughout stage seven, holding onto Barreda’s wheel once the latter had caught up with him and clinging on to limit the difference between himself and his main rival for the title.
A carbon copy of the tactic used by defending champion Cyril Despres, who finished third in Uyuni, 5′35″ behind the stage winner.
Suffering from the curse of opening the stage, Sherco’s Alain Duclos was the biggest loser on the day. Navigational mistakes cost him almost 20 minutes.As a result, the Sherco rider lost his third place in the provisional overall classification to Jordi Viladoms by just 32 seconds.
Viladoms now sits in third place, but is 38 minutes behind second-placed Joan Barreda, which is almost the same gap as between the Honda rider and leader Coma.
The fight for the title during the second week is shaping up to be a duel in the desert.
Results – Dakar Rally, Stage 7
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 03:28:41 hrs
2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:04:03
3. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:05:35
4. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP, Sherco) +00:06:57
5. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +00:08:56
6. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:10:04
7. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:10:57
8. Mario Patrao (PRT, Suzuki) +00:11:27
9. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:11:37
10. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:11:57
Provisional overall standings:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 26:40:44 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:38:14
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +01:16:03
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +01:16:35
5. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +01:39:29
6. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +01:50:42
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +01:54:52
8. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +02:08:18
9. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +02:23:50
10. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +02:26:13