Honda’s Joan Barreda was still aiming for the overall victory title in the Dakar Rally. He also aims to top the early overall standings in this year’s race. In this round Barreda took the first place as Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren was hels in second with a margin of three minutes.
The defending champion Sam Sunderland had a rather rough round as he found himself in the seventh place at the end of the finish line.
The riders faced the dunes of Ica near Pisco on Sunday. The second stage in Peru was 90% of the track. The stunning 267km test required a very keen observation and navigation skills as a little mistake would cost them their direction and their shot at winning the title.
In the motorcycle classification, Barreda turned on the afterburners within the second half of the point to overcome his fellow competitors.
“A hard, tough stage with quite a confusing part at the beginning where we had to keep our concentration. I jumped a dune hard and I really felt that in my hand over the next few kilometres,” said Barreda.
“The final part was very fast and I was able to pick up quite a bit of space and in the end it turned out well. Tomorrow we have to open the track and everything changes again, but we always knew that it would be that way and we just have to keep on as best we can.”
Joan Barreda is still chasing for the overall win in Dakar, but in this round, he proved that he is one of the fastest riders and is a force to be reckoned with.
The Spaniard grabbed his 20th stage in Pisco. The single ones with other stage wins are all multiple-time Dakar winners: Despres and Peterhansel (33), Arcarons (27), Coma (25) and Auriol (24).
Adrien Van Beveren, in the meantime, managed to cling to his shortage to around three minutes.
“We all knew navigation would be tricky so my goal was to find the right balance between going fast and not making any mistakes. I’m happy it all went well and I could secure second again today,” Van Beveren said.
“Starting behind the cars today we were faced with difficult track conditions and many, many stones. Despite that, it was easy for me to get a good race pace today and this is really encouraging for the days to come.”
Matthias Walkner improved his performance this round under the desert heat thus improving his sixth-place result from day one. He paves through the playing field an eventually finished third with a gap of 2 minutes right behind Adrien van Beveren. Pleased with his outcome, Walkner hoped to carry this pace for the next round’s race.
“Conditions were tough out there. Following the cars made navigation a little easier but the stage was quite bumpy with all the tracks left by the vehicles in front.” Said Walkner.
“Personally, I’m feeling well, but I know we have a long way to go and things are only going to get harder. I know from experience that the race isn’t won on these first few days, in fact there are about 15 guys who are riding well and up near the front.”
Michael Metge bounced back starting yesterday’s late time for a remarkable end result. The Frenchman looked with effortlessness on the bike and landed the fourth spot on the day and at the present holds ninth in the overall standings.
“In front of us the cars had marked out many ruts and it was difficult to climb the big dunes,” told Metge.
“I think I took it quite easy and I tried to make sure I was on the right track. This is a great result after yesterday’s one, but we must be aware that the Dakar is long and anything can still happen.”
Kevin Benavides presently lies in the 7th in overall ranking and will be eager for more to climb all the way to the top of the podium.
“We rode behind the cars and we ran into the dust of the vehicles that complicated the riding quite a bit for us. You had to be very careful with some of the manoeuvres of the cars.” told Kevin.
Up to now Gas Gas’ Jonathan Barragán is in 11th place during the second stage of today. He is considered as the best rookie of the year.
“I am very happy with today’s result,” said Barragan. “I rode almost all the stage alone and, towards the end, an official rider passed me. I was able to follow him for a long time and that has helped me gain pace and confidence.
“Today has been a very complicated day in terms of navigation and it was difficult, but we have to go little by little, because we still have many stages ahead. So we will continue working to continue putting on a good show in the Dakar.”