STAGE 11 SHAKES UP THE RANKS AT DAKAR
The second leg of the final marathon stage of Dakar Rally 2015 saw plenty of change among the front runners. The end of the rally may be insight but it’s far from over…
A winner the day before, Joan Barreda did not lower the pace and claimed a second consecutive victory.
However, the most noteworthy performance on Thursday came from Paulo Gonçalves who has still not given up on final victory. The Portuguese rider regained 2’23” from Marc Coma to move within 5’12 in the general standings.
But the efforts of the Honda HRC rider could be in vain because he will receive a fifteen-minute penalty in the general standings for having changed his engine. He borrowed this engine from Barreda who in turn had benefitted from the sacrifice of Jeremias Israel Esquerre, forced to exit the race after giving the engine of his Honda to his teammate during this marathon stage.
“I had a problem with my engine and had to change it,” told Goncalves. “Since it was a marathon stage, one of our riders had to stay in Cachi. Jeremias Israel gave me his engine. It’s very brave to have done that. It’s the end of the race for him so I’m going to try and get the best position so that I can dedicate it to him.
“Because of the penalty, I’ve given a free 15 minutes to all my rivals, but that’s the rules of the race and they’re the same for everybody. It was already difficult 7 minutes behind, even if I managed to regain around two minutes on the stage today. But now it’s even more difficult. That said, others can also have the problem that I had yesterday, so it’s not too late to hope to finish in the top position”.
Coma still remains in the lead, but will have to pull out all the stops over the next two stages if he decides to keep the same engine on his KTM.
Ivan Jakes had a great day with third place, 1’35” behind the stage winner, which is his best result since the start of the rally, finishing ahead of Ruben Faria and Toby Price.
The Australian took advantage of Pablo Quintanilla feeling very ill to regain more than two minutes and thus climbs onto the provisional podium in the general standings.
Helder Rodrigues, Alain Duclos and Stefan Svitko were the other riders in the day’s top 10.
Breathing a shy of relief to put all of the marathon stages behind them, Si and Llel Pavey can start to dream of the finish line in Buenos Aires. They currently sit 62nd and 63rd in the standings.