Honda’s Joan Barreda won the fourth stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge today, the Spaniard beating Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma by a minute and 20 seconds as Sam Sunderland, the leader going into the fourth stage, ended up 41st.
Coma now leads the overall standings by a minute and 31 seconds with just tomorrow’s stage five left in the rally, which is the first round of the World Cross Country Rally Championship. Coma leads Honda’s Paulo Goncalves, the Portuguese rider suffering some near the end of today’s stage but still remaining in contention for the overall win.
Barreda led from start to finish with today’s stage featuring a motocross-style start rather than the riders leaving by themselves.
Tomorrow’s final stage will feature a 151-mile special to end the rally.
“Today was a really good day,” Barreda said. “After the first day without a very good feeling and some problems, suddenly we found a good pace and a good rhythm. The last two or three days we’ve found a really good speed, always pushing. We have another victory. I know that it is not easy to win this rally, but tomorrow we will be giving it our all.”
Goncalves starts tomorrow at a disadvantage on the veteran Coma, but knows that anything is possible.
“Today was a very hard day,” Goncavles said. “Before the refueling we were all riding together at a slower speed. After refueling we speeded up. A few kilometers from the end as me, Joan and Marc were together, I got a bit caught up in one of the dunes. But tomorrow we have chance to win the race and we will try. I hope it all goes well.”