Dakar 2017 – Stage 10 | Sunderland leads, Pablo out!
Quintanilla retires due to illness, as Joan Barreda takes stage win with Metge sanctioned
The natural disasters of two days ago in Jujuy and the cancelation of Stage 9 are now history and today the Dakar Rally was back on its scheduled route. In the suffocating regions of La Rioja and San Juan, the Monster Energy Honda Team grabbed the glory with a stage win.
The Dakar got back to relative ‘normality’ with a full-length stage, free from diversions or detours. The 449 kilometres against the clock on the route from Chilecito-San Juan turned out to be the longest one disputed so far in the 2017 edition of the race.
With baking 45-degree temperatures – even reaching 50 in the saddle – riders had to endure one of the most physically gruelling stages, as well as having to deal with highly demanding navigation over the opening stretches of the stage.
The second section – finishing in San Juan – was a speedier affair, albeit with technical complications. Riders will try and rest tonight in the heat of the El Zonda racing circuit.
It proved a challenging stage for Australian Todd Smith however, who finished 32nd for the stage, while Mathew Hart put in an incredible effort for another strong finish is 42nd. Smith finishes Stage 10 in overall 21st, while Hart is current 48th.
Joan Barreda opened the track throughout the day with near-flawless navigation except for a very slight deviation at kilometre 53. Luckily, team-mate Michael Metge was on hand to confirm the correct direction.
Joan Barreda – P1
“Today has been a very good stage. In the first part, where I had to be very careful, something wasn’t right. Several riders got lost in an area with a ford where one of the notes indicated a dead-end. I was trying it out until Michael Metge showed up and confirmed the position. I did a little cross country before I found the right route. From there we pushed hard and the last part of the day featured a bumpy track in the style of American Bajas. It was great fun.”
Both, with the Honda CRF450 Rally, were soon spearheading the field towards the destination in San Juan. Metge scored the day’s best time, clinching his first Dakar stage win in the process; although later he was sanctioned for having missed a waypoint. The French rider’s route is currently being subjected to scrutiny.
Michael Metge -P24 after penalty
“Well, today was difficult. Very difficult. I would say that today we have ridden the most technically complicated stage in this Dakar. There was an initial part with quite a lot of navigation, alongside a river, where it was very hot and a very trial-like area. I found Joan and two KTM riders who are lost. Joan opened track and I followed. When I saw that there were two of us, I tried to speed up the pace in the second half.”
The penalty means that the day’s top honours fall on Joan Barreda, who consequently collects a third Dakar 2017 stage victory and the second in succession. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider is fifth in the general standings, less than an hour behind the overall race leader.
The Dakar Rally’s difficult stage 10 proved to be a game changer for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team on Thursday. While Pela Renet managed to move up to sixth place in the overall standings, it was the end of the rally for Pablo Quintanilla.
The 2016 FIM Cross Country Rallies world champion stopped after 400 km, said to be suffering from a dizzy spell, and was receiving treatment from the medical team.
“The day was really good but the first part was very tricky navigation. I got a bit lost but I think some of the others lost a lot of time. The second part was really fast and bumpy so it was a really tough day.”
Hélder Rodrigues enjoyed the most successful stage of his 2017 Dakar Rally campaign so far. Claiming a well-deserved fifth place result from today’s stage, the rider from Portugal climbed five positions in the provisional overall standings, where he’s currently placed 11th.
Hélder Rodrigues – P5
“The stage today suit my style perfectly and I enjoyed it a lot. Despite being extremely warm out there, I managed to stay focused on my navigation so avoided any big mistakes. It was a stage for the more experienced guys I guess and you had to treat it with respect. You had to take your time to study the road book and make sure you always stayed in the right track. That’s exactly what I did today and it turned out that I got my best stage result of this rally. I wish we had more stages like that this year. In any case, I’m now really pretty close to the riders in front of me in the overall and I will give my best during the final two stages to put my Yamaha inside the top 10.”
Paulo Gonçalves also dropped precious time while searching for one of the more elusive waypoints in this Dakar. Once verified, the Portuguese put pedal to the metal in an attempt to make up the lost time. By the end of the special he had finished some eight minutes adrift of the winner on the day.
Paulo Goncalves – P8
“Today has been a pretty full day. The first part of the stage – over 270 kilometres – had a very technical part, with a lot of trial and a lot of very complicated navigation. We did several kilometres in an area of trial and I lost some time finding the right course. The second part was faster but more intense technically. I tried to push to pull back some time. We have two days to try to do the best we can.”
Sunderland fought hard on the KTM 450 Rally to make up his lost time, but the fact that Pablo Quintanilla, Sam’s closest rival retired due to illness in the afternoon, allowed him to finish the day with an advantage of 30 minutes in the overall standings.
Sam Sunderland – P12
“I started out thinking I’ve got a bit of a lead so I just wanted to take it easy and stick to my road book and try to start with a good rhythm. Then after about 40km it was very confusing in some of the riverbeds. I went into the wrong valley and I got a bit stressed but I managed to correct pretty fast. Then I made another mistake. It was really hard. The road book said to follow the river but there were so many rivers all going in different ways. It’s quite hard to stay positive, especially when you make a mistake. But when I arrived at the refueling I saw there were only a couple of bikes there, so I didn’t actually lose much time.”
Overall second is now his Austrian teammate Matthias Walkner with Spanish KTM rider Gerard Farres Guell in third place, 38:43 minutes off the leading time.
Matthias Walkner – P10
“Actually it was not such a good day but it was very difficult for everyone with the navigation. I tried to give my best and I just got lost once, but it was a big mistake. Now there are just two days left and I will keep pushing and try not to do anything stupid because the situation is now quite good.”
Battling his way through an extremely technical and challenging stage 10 of this year’s Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren currently finds himself fourth in the rally’s overall standings. With two stages left to be contested the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider is now three minutes behind a provisional top three overall result.
Adrien Van Beveren – P17
“Today I pushed really hard but things just didn’t happen like I hoped they would. It was a challenging stage with some trials styled sections and I’m happy we’ve reached its finish in one piece. My pace was good in the morning, but then I started making a few navigational mistakes here and there. Together with the time it takes to get back on the right track, the toughest part is that you lose your race pace. Following the mistakes in the morning I had a bad starting position in the second part of the special so took a lot of risks passing riders. It just wasn’t a good day but nothing is lost and nothing is gained. We still have tomorrow and then last day’s short stage. Our goal is the overall podium and we all know that anything could happen these next two days.”
The day’s results also reflected the level of difficulty of Thursday’s ride during which competitors had to recover their race rhythm after an enforced break on Wednesday. Stage 9 was cancelled after an avalanche on Tuesday cut the liaison road and leaving many riders and support and logistics vehicles stranded.
They were still racing to catch up to the body of the rally at the overnight stop after the 10th stage, which took riders from Chilecito to San Juan. After the 449 km timed special of a total of 751 km, Sunderland finished in 12th 17:06 minutes off the lead. Walkner fared somewhat better. He was 10th in the stage, 12:53 off the fastest time.
As promised by race direction, the first part of the stage had its share of challenges with a long ‘trials’ section, and this clearly proved difficult for many riders. After near freezing temperatures at Altitude in Bolivia, riders now also have to contend with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.
Friday, the penultimate stage takes the rally from San Juan to Rio Cuarto over a distance of 754 km of which 288 km is timed special, the first 50 km will be in the San Juan dunes. The rally finishes in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
Results Stage 10 Dakar 2017
Stage 10 results
BARREDA, Joan – SPA – Monster Energy Honda Team – Honda 5:49’45
SVITKO, Stefan – SLO – Slovnaft Team – KTM +0’24
CAIMI, Franco – ARG – Honda South America Rally Team – Honda +3’48
RENET, Pierre-Alexandre – FRA – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team – Husqvarna +4’21
RODRIGUES, Helder – POR – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team – Yamaha +5’46
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