Joan Barreda took victory in the third stage of the Rally Dakar 2014, and in doing so widens the deficit over his nearest rival to 13’04 minutes. This is the third straight win for Honda in three outings so far in the rally, and the second victory for the Spanish rider from Castellón, bringing his career track record at the Dakar up to seven.
Sam Sunderland, as victor of the last stage, set off from the front of the rally. The British rider from TEAM HRC held his place firmly until the arrival of Joan Barreda, who quickly took over the leadership of what was a very complicated third stage of the Dakar. Barreda stayed at the head until the race wound up in San Juan.
The second rider from TEAM HRC to finish turned out to be Helder Rodrigues who arrived home in 15th position. In spite of some setbacks, the Portuguese rider pulls back various positions and is now 14th in the overall standings. Sunderland and Paulo Gonçalves, after wait the helicopter for another rider injured, both made navigational errors and finished the special further back as Javier PIzzolito.
The riders arrived back at the bivouac, and as this is the first of the marathon legs, will find no one other than their own TEAM HRC members.
Today’s route had been reduced to 130 kilometres, as the first stretch of the special was in no condition for racing after the heavy rains of the previous week. The rest of the special covered a more normal route including some mountains zones, with hard ground and a lot of complicated handling.
One again Laia Sanz, a member of Team Argentina put in an excellent performance finishing in 20th place. Likewise, Jean De Azevedo (Honda Brasil) and Cacha Rodríguez (Honda Argentina). All the riders that Honda will shortly have bikes available for have began the rally really well.
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