|Dakar Rally 2014: Honda's Joan Barreda wins the third stage to San Juan.|
Joan Barreda took victory in the third stage of the Rally Dakar 2014 on Tuesday, and in doing so widens the deficit over his nearest rival to 13:04 minutes. This is the third straight win for Honda in three outings so far in the rally, and the second victory for the Spanish rider from Castellón, bringing his career track record at the Dakar up to seven.
"This has been a really exceptional special, one like the Dakar has never seen before," said Barreda in the finish. "Not only for the altitude but also for the hills and the steep slopes that we have had to endure. It was like a trial. In second gear, revved up, then stopping for breath before taking off again. A real trial run where you just had to try and not make any mistakes and keep up the concentration."
"The navigation was really tough and at no time did I really stop to see if I was on the right path. We crossed a few rivers at the start. I caught up with Chaleco and then Sam, who I saw had taken the wrong route. From then on I did the rest of the special on my own. In the final few kilometres on the way down I was able to open the throttle until the end. It really was a difficult one for everyone."
Sam Sunderland, as victor of the last stage, set off from the front of the rally. The British rider from Team HRC held his place firmly until the arrival of Joan Barreda, who quickly took over the leadership of what was a very complicated third stage of the Dakar. Barreda stayed at the head until the race wound up in San Juan.
"For a while I opened the way, but I had a fall on a very steep slope," reported Sunderland. "I lost a lot of time looking for the right route... at 4000 meters you get a bit disoriented. I found Gonçalves who was waiting for a helicopter to help Ruben 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."
The second rider from Team HRC to finish turned out to be Helder Rodrigues who arrived home in 15th position. In spite of some setbacks, the Portuguese rider pulls back various positions and is now 14th in the overall standings. "A really difficult stage. I got lost and it took me a long time to get back on the right track. But I’m very happy to be back at the bivouac. Today I could have lost the race, but I’m still in with a shout in spite of dropping a few minutes," he said after the stage.
Sunderland and Paulo Gonçalves, after wait the helicopter for another rider injured, both made navigational errors and finished the special further back as Javier Pizzolito. "I was up at an altitude of 4,500 metros with Sunderland and Grabham and we couldn’t find the right way. Grabham took a path which wasn’t the right one and we followed him. We lost loads of time looking for the right one. I realize that my Dakar is over. From now on I’ll be focused on helping out Joan Barreda," Paulo Goncalves said.
Today’s route had been reduced to 130 kilometres, as the first stretch of the special was in no condition for racing after the heavy rains of the previous week. The rest of the special covered a more normal route including some mountains zones, with hard ground and a lot of complicated handling. The riders arrived back at the bivouac, and as this is the first of the marathon legs, will find no one other than their own Team HRC members.
One again Laia Sanz, a member of Team Argentina put in an excellent performance finishing in 20th place. Likewise, Jean De Azevedo (Honda Brasil) and Cacha Rodríguez (Honda Argentina). All the riders that Honda will shortly have bikes available for have began the rally really well.
Overall results after SS03 San Rafael - San Juan 301 km
||Barreda Bort, Joan (ES)
||Despres, Cyril (F)
||Coma, Marc (ES)
||Duclos, Alain (F)
||Lopez Contardo, Francisco (CHL)
||Casteu, David (F)
||Viladoms, Jordi (ES)
||Pain, Olivier (F)
||Przygonski, Jakub (PL)
View all results: Please [ CLICK HERE ]
2014/01/07 | 22:44 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/HRC