HRC’s Joan Barreda did what he needed to do in the final stage of the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar – he beat Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma in the stage and captured not only the overall win, but also the lead in the World Championship.
Barreda finished third in today’s stage behind teammate Helder Rodrigues and Red Bull KTM’s Ruben Faria, but he was a tick over two minutes ahead of Coma and that’s what earned him the victory – by a scant one minute and 23 seconds after over five days and 20 hours of racing.
Rodrigues’ victory, meanwhile, propelled him to the podium, the Portuguese rider finishing third overall.
“I'm really pleased,” Barreda said. “Finally, after a whole week of really hard work, I've made it. I'm really happy for the victory, for the team, and for Honda. We have won here in Qatar, and we are leading the World Championship too. This is a just reward for all the hard work that the team has done.”
Coma didn’t seem overly disappointed with finishing second.
“We added some good points for the World Championship and we again did a good job,” Coma said. “We had a consistent race with a good pace, just as we did in the first round in Abu Dhabi. It is very difficult to be competitive in all the stages because they are really different races. These rallies are also short and it is only the small details that decide the outcome. We tried right up until the end of the last stage, but it was not been possible to break away from the group of riders.”
Barreda leads Coma by just a single point in the World Rally Raids title chase. The next round will be in Europe – the Sardinia Rally, June 7-12.