Honda’s Joan Barreda won his third stage of this year's Dakar Rally today as the race entered Bolivia for the first time in the event’s history. Barreda won today's stage seven after yesterday’s rest day, the Spaniard giving Honda its fourth stage win of this year’s rally.
The second week of the rally got started this morning from the Argentine city of Salta and headed for Bolivia for the first portion of the special stage, with weather conditions forcing the start to be moved some 60 miles up the course.
“For sure I´m very happy about my result,” Barreda said. “Anyway it was very hard to stay focused. The high altitude made me feel a bit dizzy. Especially when the going got tough in the water and mud of the river.”
Barreda was fast for the entire stage, clocking up the best times in both parts of the special tests before reaching the finish line with a four minute and three second lead over Marc Coma, the KTM rider still heading the overall results.
Yamaha’s Cyril Despres ended the stage in third place, some five and a half minutes off Barreda’s pace.
The rider who suffered the most today was Alain Duclos, the Sherco rider getting lost at one point and ending up 21st and over 19 minutes behind after starting first thanks to his stage win on Friday.
In the overall standings, Coma now leads Barreda by 38 minutes and 14 seconds. Jordi Viladoms is third overall, an hour and 16 minutes behind and some 30 seconds ahead of Duclos, who slipped to fourth overall with today’s miscue.
Defending Dakar Champion Despres moved up to 10th overall, though he trails by two hours and 26 minutes.