HRC’s Joan Barreda started sixth in today’s stage of the Sealine Rally in Qatar, but he got to the finish line first and that put him at the top of the overall standings at the halfway point in the race.
“Today I’m really happy because I started out in sixth place after yesterday’s position,” Barreda said. “I kept up a really good rhythm from the first kilometres. I caught up with Marc [Coma] at kilometre 30 and then [Jordi] Viladoms. I kept pushing really hard to try and catch up with Paulo [Goncalves] and Sam [Sunderland], and finally, after refueling, with some difficult areas and navigation, I reached them – and we finished altogether in a group. So I’m really happy with another victory, and also a victory for Honda.”
Barreda ended up beating Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma by two minutes and 15 seconds, the two Spaniards separated by just a minute and 19 seconds in the overall standings. Coma’s teammate Jordi Viladoms is third, some seven and a half minutes off the leader’s pace.
“There are longer stages, also for the final two days, and the surface is very stony and white so it is very difficult to see the piste,” said Coma. “It’s also wet. We still have a long way to go and after three days of hard riding and we must really stay very focused and try to push.”
Red Bull KTM’s Sam Sunderland, the winner of yesterday’s second stage, ended today in sixth place. Defending World Champion Paulo Goncalves was fifth today on the second factory Honda. He is fourth overall.
“Again it was a very hard day,” Goncalves said. “I started in second position overall and we had a lot of really difficult navigation and we were able to really pick up speed in the special. But after the refueling, navigation got very tough, and we lost some time, and the riders who started behind Sam and I caught up with us, and we all arrived in a group. I lost a little time today but I will try and make it up tomorrow.”