Dakar Rally – Stage Three
Joan Barreda has won a drama filled stage three of the Dakar Rally to remain fixed as the overall leader of the rally.
First to start, Sam Sunderland looked on course to make it two stage wins in a row as he led the field through waypoint five. But soon after disaster struck when he took a wrong turn. Descending into a valley instead of following the narrow technical ledge, the Brit found himself completely off course but was soon followed by Ben Grabham, Paulo Goncavles, Pedrero Garcia and Javier Pizzolito.
“For a while I opened the way, but I had a fall on a very steep slope,” told Sunderland. “I lost a lot of time looking for the right route – at 4000 metres you get a bit disoriented. I found Gonçalves who was waiting for a helicopter to help Faria and we rode together. I fell several times as well as getting lost a lot. It’s an experience that we will have to learn from.
Avoiding any costly navigational errors, Barreda, who had caught up to Sunderland kept on track to reach the summit. His second stage victory increases his race lead to over 13 minutes.
“Today was really unbelievable,” explained Barreda. “The conditions were extreme by any means. After the stage started, I could soon pass Chaleco Lopez to follow Sam Sunderland in the riverbeds until he took a wrong turn. Opening the track, the uphill sections got more and more steep and extreme. In trial-type conditions I had to stay full-throttle in second gear to make the steepest sections and keep it all together to make it over the loose rolling stones. It was very exhausting in the high altitude and I needed to stay very calm to avoid mistakes.
“As I was over the highest point, the navigation downhill was getting very delicate, with many changes of directions and possibly wrong ways to follow on very steep trails. I stopped and made sure I was choosing the right way several times. Eventually it paid out to keep a cool head. The last part down in the valley was more easy and I put the hammer down again. I think today many riders will have extreme difficulties.”
Finishing nearly five minutes behind Barreda, Cyril Despres made up for his tenth position on stage two and lies second overall in the general classification.
Also proving that there’s no substitute for experience in Dakar, Marc Coma ended the day in third.
Consistent as ever, Alain Duclos claimed a fine fourth place – 10 minutes 51 seconds behind Barreda with David Casteu fifth.
One again Laia Sanz, a member of Team Argentina put in an excellent performance finishing in 20th place.
Results – Dakar Rally, Stage 3
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 3:47:03 hrs
2. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:04:41
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:06:56
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:10:51
5. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +00:11:17
6. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:16:36
7. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP, Gas-Gas) +00:16:50
8. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +00:19:06
9. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +00:20:12
10. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:20:34
Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 3:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 09:56:44 hrs
2. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:13:04
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:13:56
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:16:38
5. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:18:39
6. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +00:22:16
7. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:34:33
8. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:36:33
9. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +00:37:54
10. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +00:40:09