Team Husqvarna by Speedbrain's Joan Barreda won the Pisco-Pisco second stage of the Dakar Rally today, the 204-mile route including some 150 miles of special test. With the stage win, the second of his Dakar career, Barreda moved into the overall lead of the rally.
Barreda and his Husky TE449RR set a fast pace from the get-go and the Spaniard was able to maintain his speed to finish some three minutes ahead of his countryman Juan Pedrero on the MRW Rally Team KTM. To make things even better for the Speedbrain team, Barreda's Australian teammate Matt Fish finished the stage in third place.
Fourth today went to Red Bull KTM's Ruben Faria, the Portuguese rider ending up six minutes and 26 seconds behind Barreda.
Red Bull KTM's Kurt Caselli went to the Dakar Rally as a replacement rider for injured legend Marc Coma. He's there to learn the ropes of big-time rally racing and apparently he's a faster learner as he finished fifth in today's stage to move to 11th overall in his Dakar debut. Caselli ended up seven minutes and 10 seconds behind Barreda and 9:45 behind him in the overall standings after two stages.
Faria is second to Barreda in the overall standings, 5:36 behind. Pedrero is third, another minute off Barreda's pace. David Casteu and defending Dakar Champion Cyril Despres round out the top five overall.
Tomorrow's third stage will be the Pisco Nazca run of 214 miles.
"A really tough stage, but I'm really pleased with the way I raced," Barreda said. "By the time we were 100 km into the race, I was in command and I set my own pace to the finish line. I wanted to get away fast and that's what I did. The bike is perfect and the team are doing a great job."
Honda's Johnny Campbell finished 33rd in today's stage. He is 35th overall.
"It was a 100 percent sandy stage, with some difficult dunes as they were very steep in the back and I had to be careful with the gas," Campbell said in a Honda release. "Like many of us, I lost some precious time at km 74 to validate the waypoint, then I found the correct direction and I caught several riders. I stopped to help Juan Carlos [Salvatierra], a Honda private rider from Bolivia, and then I continued. In the last 30 km it was a good fun to battle with five riders as we were attacking and passing each other back and forth."