|Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Joan Barreda wins Abu Dhabi Prologue in bikes|
Joan Barreda proved to be the fastest in the Super Special at the "Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge", the first test in the FIM World Championship of Cross-Country Rallies. Paulo Gonçalves finished in fifth and Hélder Rodrigues sixth.
It was an excellent start for Team Honda HRC at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with an important win for Joan Barreda, which will allow him to choose the starting order for the first stage of the rally. As the dunes will play such a crucial role in the stage, starting a few positions from behind could be to the team’s advantage.
Today’s (Saturday) Super Special might have been a mere 2.5 kilometers long, but it proved to be a spectacular one all the same, taking place in the close vicinity of the Yas Marina Circuit. Barreda once again showed his pace and clocked up a time some two seconds over his nearest second place rival.
"It was really good," said Barreda after the stage. "I only made a slight mistake on the start of the lap and I dropped one or two seconds. After that I felt really good. I kept pushing for the whole lap and in the end I picked up a nice victory, which is great for tomorrow as we can start when we want and we’ll try to get off to a good start tomorrow."
The top positions were fiercely disputed with current champion Paulo Gonçalves finishing in fifth very close to his rivals. Hélder Rodrigues crossed the line in sixth after a light fall on a sharp corner.
"I tried to be fast but the course is short so I tried to be quick and not take any risks because it’s important to be in the top five tomorrow," reported the 2013 FI World Champion Paulo Goncalves. "I think that it’s really good that I finished in fifth really near to the winner who was Joan Barreda. Tomorrow the real race starts and we’ll all push to try and keep in a good position tomorrow as well."
Portugal´s Helder Rodrigues said: "It was very fast and very close today, and I had to take the corners very quick. I tried to go too fast and I made a slight mistake and I finally made sixth place, which I think was good. Joan won so he’ll be in a good position to start tomorrow. The race is long and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow."
German Teammanager Wolfgang Fischer was happy with the result: "A short close Special very close to the Yas Marina circuit here. The guys did a good job with Joan winning today and getting his preferred position for tomorrow. Paulo and Helder did fine so we will see how it goes in the first real desert day tomorrow. Now it’s up to the guys to do the right technical thing, navigate well and have a safe a race as possible."
Top 10 results BIKES Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge SS0
01) Joan Barreda (ES) I Honda I 00:02:04C
02) Sam Sunderland (UK) I KTM I +01.82
03) Marc Coma (ES) I KTM I +02.28
04) Jordi Viladoms (ES) I KTM I +02.76
05) Paulo Goncalves (PT) I Honda I +02.88
06) Helder Rodrigues (PT) I Honda I +04.16
07) Kuba Przygonski (PL) I KTM I +06.78
08) Matyas Sonfai (HU) I E-ATV I +10.48
09) Aleksei Nikishkin (RUS) I Honda I +10.52
10) Mohammed Abu Issa (QT) I Yamaha I +12.18
2014/04/05 | 17:39 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/HRC