Dakar 2017 – Stage 3 | Joan Barreda takes stage win, overall lead
Toby Price ninth for Stage 3, moving to fifth overall, while Rodney Faggotter takes 18th
Joan Barreda emerged victorious thanks to a great tactical display in the third stage of the Rally Dakar 2017. The Spanish rider from the Monster Honda Energy Team stormed to an overwhelming victory and tops the general rankings in the process.
Stage 3 was a test, perhaps the first real test of what Dakar Rally Sports Director and former five-time Dakar winner Marc Coma has promised will be one of the most difficult editions ever.
Not only was the day’s ride long and hard, they also encountered temperatures ranging from the high 30s Celsius before climbing to 4000 meters altitude in the Andes where it was was only around 5 degrees Celsius. The opening stretches of the third stage played out off-piste with sand and tricky fords.
The were even some trial-like tracks which left many of the aspirants trailing behind. Later, the landscape began to resemble that of the previous stages as the route approached the neutralization section. The timed special restarted at over 3,500 metres in altitude and continued uphill all the way to Jujuy.
Toby Price, the winner of stage two, got into difficulties in the early part of the stage and like many others lost time in his battle against difficult navigation, fesh-fesh, camel grass and riverbeds. Price was ninth in the stage and dropped in the overall standings to fifth position.
Toby Price – P9
“It was a hard stage and the first 70km was really difficult. If you didn’t hit your marks exactly right and get all your way points at the times you needed to, then your road book got all out of whack and you had to recalibrate and sort out where you were. I went a little bit too left in the first one and then I couldn’t find it. I ended up doing an extra 10-12km more than I needed to today. We just have to put that day behind us.”
Looking to make the most out of his familiarity with the conditions Rodney Faggotter was the second fastest Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider finishing stage three in 18thposition. Gradually gaining back confidence following his fall during yesterday’s stage, the Aussie opted to take it steady to the finish of the day so that he can now focus on the remainder of the rally.
Rodney Faggotter – P18
“It wasn’t a bad day for me. I was a bit sore from my crash yesterday, so decided to keep it steady and not take any risks. I took my time in the trickiest bits and it turned out I was gaining instead of losing time there. My goal from today was to bring my Yamaha home in one piece avoiding mistakes at any cost. Overall, it was mission accomplished from today’s stage and now we can move on to the next one. I believe the trickiest bit of the race are still to come, so I want to take things easy and focus on my own race. I believe the following few stages until we reach the rest day in La Paz will be crucial for the outcome of this year’s Dakar.”
Todd Smith finished Stage 3 40th, with Mathew Hart just three places behind in 43rd.
It was Joan Barreda who stole the show in Stage 3. The Spaniard rode the Honda CRF450 Rally at a blistering pace, with flawless navigation, to romp home with a massive surplus over the pursuing pack. In addition to the day’s first prize ‘Bang Bang’ now commands at the top of the overall standings.
Joan Barreda – P1
“Today has been a great day. I’m very pleased because today the plan that we had worked out turned out perfectly. It was a tough day, as I had to push really hard all day, stay really focused, not make any mistakes and give 100% in the area of navigation at the beginning. At the waypoint at kilometre 40 I circled around a bit until Ricky showed up and gave me some references to mark the waypoint. It went really well and error-free with a very fast pace. “
KTM’s Sam Sunderland improved on his stage two result (fourth) to take second in Stage 3, in the challenging conditions.
Sam Sunderland – P2
“We knew the first 45 km were going to be tricky, but they were really tricky. There was a lot of vegetation, we were crossing through rivers and trying to find the piste again. It was really tough. We lost 10-15 minutes in the first 45 km and that was a bit frustrating, then in the second part of the special it was good, and I managed to push a bit. We knew it was going to be a tough day and there are still many more to come. We just take each day one at a time, and tick them off as we go. I want to arrive at the finish this year. That’s very important for me, and we still have a long way to go.”
Pierre-Alexandre Renet, who started back at 20th, kept a clear head and full concentration when it really counted and ultimately delivered his best stage result, in this, only his second Dakar Rally for the factory team, to take third for the stage. He took a quantum leap from 20th to eighth in the overall reckoning but there is much more to come as the rally heads north on Thursday into Tupiza in southern Bolivia.
“It was a really good day but there are still nine more to come. This morning the navigation was very tricky for the first 70 km, but I tried to make it the best I can. Everything went perfectly and I got to all the way points. I know a lot of riders had problems today and I was surprised to find out at the finish line that I was third. That’s good for my team and good for my mechanic who works very hard for me. It’s also good for my confidence and for my future.”
Pablo Quintanilla also stayed composed and stuck to his game plan to be diligent and consistent. He is now fourth in the overall standings 15.56 minutes off the lead of Joan Barreda, who was the stage winner. More importantly, Quintanilla is just over a minute behind third placed rival, Paulo Goncalves of Portugal.
Pablo Quintanilla – P4
“Today was very difficult, especially in the beginning with about 50 km of piste. I made some mistakes and I lost plenty of time. There were a lot of stones and vegetation and it was very hard to follow. But this is the first day of the real race and we will have more days like this, so anything can happen.”
Shortly after setting off, Paulo Gonçalves managed to overtake the two adversaries who had started out ahead, the Portuguese rider opening the track until approximately the first waypoint. Gonçalves led the field from kilometre 30 to 180. Paulo crossed the line to post the fifth fastest time on the day.
Paulo Goncalves – P5
“Today was a pretty long day with difficult riding and navigation. The first forty or fifty kilometres were tough and I came out opening the track on that part. I lost a bit of time looking for a waypoint, but I was able to continue and get through to the end without any problems. The important thing is that everything is fine for the stage tomorrow which is only the fourth of this long and difficult rally.”
Enjoying a highly positive third day of competition at the 2017 Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren moved closer to the top of the general standings where he’s now provisionally placed sixth overall.
Adrien Van Beveren – P6
“Everything is going according to plan for me so far. Today I did my best to remain focused on my riding and navigation and it worked out pretty well for my day’s result. I’m now sixth in the provisional overall standings and pretty close to the group of leading riders. I’m really satisfied with my speed as well from today. It was almost impossible to make passes with all that dust in the special, but I stayed calm and went on the attack whenever I felt it was the right time to do so. My plan for this Dakar is clear – I want to take one step and one stage at a time, without rushing things or feeling stressed about things that I can’t control. I think if I remain focused on this goal I have quite a few chances to do well this year.”
American Ricky Brabec, proving very consistent thus far in the rally, placed in the top ten and establishes himself ninth overall.
Ricky Brabec – P10
“Stage 3 was technical for everyone. Today I made a few mistakes. I was going a bit too fast in the dust and I came across a tree but at that speed I had to jump it. Luckily my front wheel and skid plate made it over just in time. I hit the other side with the wheel and blew the fender right off the bike. I don’t know exactly what went wrong with the bike but shortly after I pulled over. Svitko was coming right behind me but he crashed. I turned around and went backwards for him. By the time I got there he was getting up, so I parked the bike and repaired it and tried to make it to the finish.”
Matthias Walkner – P11
“Today was not so good and I sometimes got lost at the beginning of the stage. It was heavy to start with Toby in the front, but I think everyone got lost a couple of times because it was tricky navigation. Then after the neutral part I was late arriving for the start of the second part of the special. The time calculated was very short and I hope I will get some of this back again. It was not really a good day, but there are still more to come.”
Frenchman Michael Metge, who dropped time yesterday to be able to accompany his team-mates, successfully clawed back the time to finish among the top fifteen on the day.
Michael Metge – P13
“Today was the first day with complicated navigation. The first part had various waypoints – the new ones that were very difficult. There was a lot of dust but I got past plenty of riders. After we passed a WRC-style part and as we went up I started getting a bad headache. In the second section there were a lot of riders who were arriving late as there was a storm. If it hadn’t been for this, I would have had a good day, even so, I’m very happy for Joan and his stage victory.”
Following his impressive ride in Stage 2 that saw him claim third, Yamaha France supported Xavier de Soultrait was one of the first riders to take the start of stage three. Assigned with the demanding task to open the tracks along with a small group of riders, the Frenchman suffered a series of mistakes that dropped him to 14th at the end of stage three.
Xavier de Soultrait – P14
“It was a very difficult stage. Following my third place yesterday I took the start of today’s stage among the leading group of riders and that turned out to be a disadvantage. Navigation was really tricky, especially in the beginning of the special, so we ended up getting lost lots of times and losing precious time. I’m glad this stage is over and I can now focus on tomorrow. The Dakar is so demanding and unpredictable and you can never expect to do great every day. I take things as they are and will continue fighting to get as close as possible to the top five.”
For Stage 4 riders leave Argentina and travel north to Tupiza in the south of Bolivia – another brutal ride of 521 km, of with 416 km is timed. It will be another high altitude day with the additional challenge of tackling dunes at around 3,500 meters. Rain is also forecast for their destination. Stage 4 concludes in the new camp at Tupiza, Bolivia’s first location in this edition of the Dakar.
Results Stage 3 Dakar 2017
Stage 3 results
BARREDA, Joan – SPA – Monster Energy Honda Team 4:23’41
SUNDERLAND, Sam – GBR – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +12’29
RENET, Pierre-Alexandre – FRA – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +15’30
QUINTANILLA, Pablo – CHI – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +16’02
GONCALVES, Paulo – POR – Monster Energy Honda Team +16’20
VAN BEVEREN, Adrien – FRA – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +19’40
CAIMI, Franco – ARG – Honda South America Rally Team +20’09
FARRES, Gerard – SPA – Himoinsa Team +20’43
PRICE, Toby – AUS – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +21’51
BRABEC, Ricky – USA – Monster Energy Honda Team +24’16
WALKNER, Matthias – AUT – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +25’40
SVITKO, Stefan – SLO – Slovnaft Team +26’41
METGE, Michael – FRA – Monster Energy Honda Team +27’26
DE SOULTRAIT, Xavier – FRA – Viltais Racing Team HFP +33’09
JAKES, Ivan – SLO – Jakes Dakar Team +33’39
18. FAGGOTTER, Rodney – AUS – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team – Yamaha
40. SMITH, Todd – AUS – KTM
43. HART, Mathew – AUS – All Hart Racing – Husqvarna
Overall standings after Stage 3
BARREDA, Joan – SPA – Monster Energy Honda Team 7:36’30
SUNDERLAND, Sam – GBR – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +10’20
GONCALVES, Paulo – POR – Monster Energy Honda Team +13’42
QUINTANILLA, Pablo – CHI – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +14’56
PRICE, Toby – AUS – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +16’19
FARRES, Gerard – SPA – Himoinsa Team +22’00
VAN BEVEREN, Adrien – FRA – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +23’07
RENET, Pierre-Alexandre – FRA – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +23’07
BRABEC, Ricky – USA – Monster Energy Honda Team +23’13
SVITKO, Stefan – SLO – Slovnaft Team +25’54
WALKNER, Matthias – AUT – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +27’47
CAIMI, Franco – ARG – Honda South America Rally Team +28’30
DE SOULTRAIT, Xavier – FRA – Viltais Racing Team HFP +31’18
PEDRERO, Joan – SPA – Sherco TVS Rally Factory +35’10
METGE, Michael – FRA – Monster Energy Honda Team +38’22
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