Dakar 2019 Stage Three
Xavier de Soultrait managed to make full use of his navigational skills during today’s stage three of the Dakar. One of the first riders to find his way out of a tricky section in the first part of the stage, Xavier secured an emphatic stage win to move up to sixth in the event’s provisional overall standings.
Stage three also saw the retirement of stage one winner Joan Barreda, the Honda man out of the rally. The Spaniard came across a low visibility foggy and rocky area whilst opening the track, lost control of the bike which went into a slide down a ravine which it proved impossible to escape from. Barreda’s Dakar had ended at kilometre 143.
Joan Barreda – Out
“Sadly the Dakar ended for me today. It had been going very well, opening the track and pushing the riders ahead. When I reached the mountains I found a lot of fog that limited my visibility. Following the directions of the roadbook and the GPS I reached a cliff, when I tried to return I saw that Walkner had also arrived, they saw me and stopped and were able to turn around, but from below it was impossible for me to climb back up. I tried to go down further and look for a route out along the ravine but it was impossible.”
San Juan de Marcona > Arequipa 798 km
The agenda of the day saw riders set out from the bivouac at San Juan de Marcona to start the first special of the day five kilometres later. The timed section concluded some 264 kilometres later followed by a short two-kilometre liaison section which brought the riders to a second 65-kilometre special. Before arriving back at the camp in Arequipa, it was back in the saddle for a 461-kilometre jaunt to take the mileage to a whopping 800 kilometres. Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait fared best on the biggest day so far of Dakar 2019.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P1 – Overall P6
“It feels great to get this stage win in the bag. We had some challenging navigation today and I’m glad I made no mistake. For me this was the first proper rally stage of this race. My plan going into this stage was to push and everything worked to my favour. I had a steady pace from start to finish and this helped me secure the win. I want to keep that same momentum throughout this first week of the race and then try to push harder whenever I get the chance to do so. Everything is going well for me so far, the bike is working great and I’ve had no crashes or mistakes.”
It was Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla, with a close runner-up result on the day’s timed special stage, that is now the rally’s provisional overall leader with three out of the 10 stages contested in Peru.
Putting his experience to good use, Pablo Quintanilla enjoyed a mistake free stage to cross the line with the second fastest time of the day. In a total time of more than four hours, Pablo was just 15 seconds slower than the stage winner. The Chilean rider now holds a very handy 11-minute lead at the top of the rally’s overall standings.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P2 – Overall P1
“The real Dakar has just started and I’m happy with where I’m at right now. Today we had a difficult stage. There was a lot of fog and in some parts you couldn’t see far ahead. If you tried to push, you ended up missing the right tracks. I took my time there and rode really carefully. At one crucial point in the mountains I made the right decision and gained some time to my rivals. Navigation today was really tricky. I’m having fun on my bike at the moment and I want to keep that same momentum going for the stages to come.”
It was double congratulations for Kevin Benavides who was wished happy returns as he headed out from the San Juan de Marcona bivouac on his birthday this morning and again after an excellent stage performance by Argentinean rider when he arrived back. Monster Energy Honda Team’s Benavides had been in the running for the stage victory, but had to settle for third place on the day, 2’37 behind the stage winner. Benavides thus moved up the general rankings to find himself rubbing shoulders with rally’s top guns.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P3 – Overall P2
“Today was a very long day. I took advantage of having a good starting position to attack. I felt comfortable with the bike, I made some navigational mistakes but in the end it was a good day. I’m happy to climb some positions in the general and I’m gaining confidence every stage. It is not bad to move up to the second position of the general on my birthday.”
Adrien Van Beveren managed to climb three spots in the provisional standings. Currently sitting 13 minutes behind the provisional overall leader and in fourth position, Adrien is looking ahead to the coming stages in the dunes of South America.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P4 – Overall P4
“I’m really satisfied with my performance today. The stage was hard and there was a lot of fog in the first part of it. At one point, we got stuck in the fog with a few other riders, but I managed to find my way out of there pretty fast. Going into the second part of the stage in the dunes I was planning to push more to make some time, but a small issue with my clutch didn’t let me ride the way I would have wanted to. The Dakar is a huge adventure and I’m glad I found my way out of this small issue and managed to post a decent time on the stage. All members of our team are giving their best and now our eyes are set on the marathon stage that starts tomorrow.”
The sixth rider to enter the timed special, Sam Sunderland had a solid start to the day, riding consistently and navigating well. After clearing the fog-covered mountain section the Brit was able to push on a little harder to complete the day in fifth – one place up from his start position.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P5 – Overall P3
“It was a really tricky stage, there was a lot of fog on the top of one of the mountains and that made riding and navigation tough. The only thing you could do was ease down on your pace a little and take a lot of care. At one point visibility was down to just a few metres. The road book had a lot of long notes that weren’t as clear as they could have been and I think a few people struggled with that. As the day went on the riders grouped up and that is always a bit unpredictable because you don’t know what the other guys are going to do. This is the Dakar though, we know it’s difficult and we know we’ll have stages like this. It’s still early days so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Again opting to prioritise bringing his KTM 450 Rally home safely, rather than pushing and risking a mistake, Toby Price placed ninth at the end of the stage. Continuing to ride at a good and consistent pace, the Australian now sits fifth overall in the provisional overall standings, just three minutes down on Sunderland.
Toby Price – Stage P9 – Overall P5
“I think it was more about survival than racing today. It was a really tough stage but I got through it and I’m feeling good and that’s what matters. I got lost early on and that cost me some time to the front runners. Then at about the 130-kilometre mark there was a lot of fog in the mountains. The road book didn’t have too many details and there were a few cliffs you could have dropped off. Luckily, I missed them. I’m still trying to hang on and get to the end of each stage but overall things are good.”
It proved to be a tough physical test for Paulo Gonçalves who held a swift pace to place a fine sixth on the day.
Paulo Goncalves – Stage P6 – Overall P9
“Today was quite long stage, quite similar to yesterday’s with lots of sand and many dunes. I have felt very comfortable and with a lot more confidence. I was able to push with a good pace, but it was a pity about an error just before the refueling that made me lose more than 10 minutes, but the important thing is that I was able to finish. I have good feelings, tomorrow the marathon starts and I want to do well.”
Ricky Brabec suffered the setback of being forced to open the track which led to a twelfth place finish.
Ricky Brabec – Stage P13 – Overall P7
“The stage was tough. There was a lot of sand dunes and a lot of navigation. I ended up opening a lot of the stage. There was a lot of fog there. Joan went down a ravine or the wrong side of the mountain or something. I really had to go slow there. At kilometre 178 there was a really difficult waypoint which was not where it was shown in the roadbook. I spent fifteen minutes looking around for the way point and rode around for 30 kilometres. It was a bad day. We’ll have to make it up. But for me, in my mind, it’s going to be tough.”
Opening a stage is always tricky and Stage Two winner Matthias Walkner had that honour on stage three, entering the timed special at just after 6am on Wednesday morning. Riding well for the first part of the route, a crash ended up costing the Austrian some time. Despite navigation proving to be the toughest yet in this year’s event, Walkner regained his composure to place 15th on the day and now lies eighth overall.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P15 – Overall P8
“Things were pretty hard for me today. I opened the stage but only for the first 60 kilometres or so because I had a crash going over one of the drops. After that I couldn’t find my rhythm so well again. It was really foggy and normally you would have to stop in those conditions. All you could do is drop your speed and take things really carefully. I picked up the pace later on in the stage but lost some time on the leaders. It’s only day three though and we have many kilometres left to race.”
Rodney Faggotter suffered a technical issue after the last waypoint and the experienced Aussie could not finish the stage.
Stage four of the 2019 Dakar Rally marks the first half of the marathon stage. Riders will leave Arequipa and head for the temporary bivouac in Moquegua where they will receive no outside assistance from their teams. The 511-kilometre stage includes a gruelling 405-kilometre timed special – the longest of the rally.
2019 Dakar Rally
Provisional Results Stage Three
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 18 FRA Yamaha 04:07’42
- QUINTANILLA Pablo 6 CHI Husqvarna +00’15
- BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Honda +02’37
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien 4 FRA Yamaha +06’42
- SUNDERLAND Sam 14 GBR KTM +08’26
- GONCALVES Paulo 2 POR Honda +09’31
- SVITKO Stefan 11 SLO KTM +10’50
- MENA Oriol 7 SPA Hero +11’15
- PRICE Toby 3 AUS KTM +14’16
- METGE Michael 16 FRA Sherco +14’45
- SANTOLINO Lorenzo SPA Sherco+14’59
- SHORT Andrew 29 USA Husqvarna +15’10
- BRABEC Ricky 15 USA Honda +20’01
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Three
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Factory Husqvarna 08:34’28
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +11’23
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Factory +12’12
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally +13’29
- PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Factory +15’17
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally +16’52
- BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda +18’02
- WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Factory +21’14
- GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda +25’11
- SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +29’15