Dakar 2015 – Stage Four – Joan Barreda extends Dakar lead; Toby Price now 7th after getting lost
After spending most of the stage hot on the heels of Marc Coma, Joan Barreda turned on the afterburners to overtake his closest rival in the final kilometres and clinch his second stage win this year. Even more importantly, the HRC rider now holds a sizeable lead after just four days of racing.
Joan Barreda had a comfortable buffer in the general classification in Chilecito this morning, but it certainly did not dampen his appetite. The presence of Marc Coma, a fast veteran, in his sights put the Spaniard in the ideal position to set a blistering pace and put time into the rest of the field. With Barreda’s fighting spirit, merely shadowing his KTM rival was never an option, and a late surge was enough to earn Joan a second stage win in the 2015 edition and deal Coma a severe blow. However, the four-time Dakar winner knows there is still lots of racing left and is set to fight back from the very next stage.
Joan Barreda – “I’m delighted. The first part of the stage was a very fast but complicated track. Marc was ahead and it was very difficult to catch up with him. I stayed focused and motivated. I caught up with him towards km 100 and eased into a solid pace. We tackled dunes and navigation was difficult. Marc and I finished together. I’ve got a good strategy. We’re in control. The next few days will be extremely tough. Actually, there’s a big chunk of Dakar left and we know there are tricky situations ahead. We know that if we keep an eye on Marc, we’ll follow a strong pace, because he’s the reference.”
Coma’s deficit basically represents the time he lost in Stage Two when he had to slow right down because of tyre damage, but the four-time Dakar winner is still feeling satisfied with his progress.
Marc Coma: “This was an important day for me because it would have been easy to lose time in the last 100 km of deep sand and big dunes. I opened the road all day and I tried to make a high rhythm and to push to the maximum. I’m happy to arrive here with no mistakes and everything is getting better for me. We are now in the Atacama and I feel comfortable here.”
The third rider home was Pablo Quintanilla of Chile, also on a KTM, followed by Coma’s Spanish teammate Jordi Viladoms, who said at the end of his ride that it had been a day of really difficult navigation. “I am happy with the overall results but also disappointed because I got lost. I need to be a bit more concentrated and not to make a mistake. Tomorrow I will try to push a bit more and to be more focused. Today there was a lot of valleys and it was difficult to find the right one. Here we always have surprises.”
Fellow KTM teammate Ruben Faria finished just 11 seconds behind Viladoms and commented at the end of the day: “This is our first day in Chile and we started with a very fast track with a lot of fesh-fesh and stones, then towards the end we came into the big dunes of Copiapó. There was a lot of navigation and I made a good job until about 10 km to the end then I got completely lost and lost some minutes. But overall it was a very good day.”
Paulo Gonçalves conceded a quarter of an hour and finished 12th on stage four, seemingly unable to compete with his teammate, just like Ruben Faria, who lost eleven minutes on Barreda today and now lies 23 minutes back in the general classification.
Stage three winner Matthias Walkner was the biggest loser of the day, conceding 23 minutes and falling off the provisional podium after some navigational unsurety cost him dearly, “I was right, but I didn’t have the confidence if I didn’t see the lines. Then I found a good rhythm and I was only two minutes behind the leaders at the CP refueling point. Then we were in the dunes and I took the wrong direction and got lost. This was a new experience for me but now we are back to reality and I hope I can do it better tomorrow.”
Flying femme Laia Sanz, on the other hand, had good reason to be cheerful after finishing an excellent eighth.
Australian rookie Toby Price was 16th fastest on stage four, nearly 20 minutes behind stage winner Joan Barreda. Price slipped from 6th overall to 7th overall, moving past Walkner but overtaken by Jordi Viladoms and Pablo Quintanilla.
Toby Prce – “Straight up this morning I got lost following the crest of a hill. I thought I was on the right track but obviously I wasn’t, so I lost a bit of time there. It’s all a learning curve. I knew today would be a little worse results because of the conditions, but all in all, I’m at the finish. I can take a few points from today, learn from them and know where I went wrong.”
Sadly it was the final day for KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland who had such a great start with a stage win on the opening day. Sam crashed at the 59 km point in Stage Four and fell hard on his shoulder. He was dizzy and was unable to continue. X-Rays have subsequently indicated some slight ligament damage but nothing is broken and no serious injury.
After four stages the bigger picture as reflected in the overall standings sees Barreda and Coma well out in front of the rest of the field. Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves is in third around 15 minutes behind, followed by five KTM riders – Faria, Viladoms, Quintanilla, Price and Walkner while Sherco entrant Duclos currently ranks ninth and Honda’s Rodrigues rounds out the outright top ten. With many miles left still to rider, the competition remains wide open.
Thursday’s Stage Five takes riders from Copiapó to Antofagasta for another 697 kilometers, 458 of them timed, through the Atacama Desert. The fesh-fesh will be one of their main opponents.
Dakar 2015 – Stage Four – Stage Results
- BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA – 03:27:28 – –
- COMA (ESP) KTM – 03:29:27 00:01:59 –
- QUINTANILLA (CHL) – KTM – 03:30:17 00:02:49 –
- VILADOMS (ESP) KTM – 03:38:12 00:10:44 –
- FARIA (PRT) KTM – 03:38:23 00:10:55 –
- PIZZOLITO (ARG) HONDA – 03:38:57 00:11:29 –
- DUCLOS (FRA) SHERCO TVS – 03:40:19 00:12:51 –
- SANZ PLA-GIRIBERT (ESP) HONDA 03:41:16 00:13:48 –
- SVITKO (SVK) KTM – 03:41:19 00:13:51 –
- METGE (FRA) YAMAHA – 03:42:00 00:14:32 –
- BOTTURI (ITA) YAMAHA – 03:42:20 00:14:52 –
- GONCALVES (PRT) HONDA – 03:42:24 00:14:56 –
- GOUET (CHL) HONDA – 03:42:33 00:15:05 –
- VAN NIEKERK (ZAF) KTM – 03:43:45 00:16:17 –
- CASTEU (FRA) KTM – 03:44:08 00:16:40 –
- PRICE (AUS) KTM 03:47:09 00:19:41 –
- RODRIGUES (PRT) HONDA – 03:47:59 00:20:31 –
- VOGELS (NLD) KTM – 03:48:45 00:21:17 –
- GYENES (ROU) KTM – 03:48:53 00:21:25 –
- SALVATIERRA (BOL) KTM – 03:49:59 00:22:31 –
Dakar 2015 – Overall Standings after Stage Four
- BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA 13:10:33 – –
- COMA (ESP) KTM – 13:23:22 00:12:49 –
- GONCALVES (PRT) HONDA – 13:31:02 00:20:29 –
- FARIA (PRT) KTM – 13:33:38 00:23:05 –
- VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 13:35:24 00:24:51 –
- QUINTANILLA (CHL) KTM – 13:41:15 00:30:42 –
- PRICE (AUS) KTM – 13:42:38 00:32:05 –
- WALKNER (AUT) KTM – 13:44:01 00:33:28 –
- DUCLOS (FRA) SHERCO TVS – 13:47:04 00:36:31 –
- RODRIGUES (PRT) HONDA – 13:49:38 00:39:05 –
- SVITKO (SVK) KTM – 13:51:00 00:40:27 –
- SANZ PLA-GIRIBERT (ESP) HONDA – 13:58:35 00:48:02 –
- CASTEU (FRA) KTM – 13:59:29 00:48:56 –
- METGE (FRA) YAMAHA – 14:00:27 00:49:54 –
- BOTTURI (ITA) YAMAHA – 14:00:53 00:50:20 –
- VAN NIEKERK (ZAF) KTM – 14:01:01 00:50:28 –
- PEDRERO GARCIA (ESP) YAMAHA – 14:02:38 00:52:05