Dakar 2018 – Stage Three
Sam Sunderland new leader
Barreda loses 28-minutes through navigation errors
Price has great stage but then cops five-minute penalty
The longest stage of the event so far, comprising a 296km special followed by a 208km liaison, proved difficult for many of the competitors on Monday.
Overnight leader Joan Barreda missed a way-point and had to turn back for 15 kilometres until he found the right track. As a result, he lost 28-minutes to the stage winner. Barreda must now attack to claw back the time lost and hope that his rivals make mistakes.
“I’m a little disappointed today because I was going at good pace, opening the track almost all the way through. When I reached kilometre 280 I took the one I thought was the good track, but when I saw that it was not the right one, it was very late and I had lost a lot of time. From now on we will have to work to try to make up this difference.”
With today’s stage win, 2017 Dakar champion Sam Sunderland moves to the top of the overall standings, over four-minutes ahead of Honda’s Kevin Benavides.
“That was a tough day – there was a lot of off-piste riding and some of the dunes were really difficult to navigate and even climb. It made the whole day that little bit more physical, too. I’m happy to get another win, but it’s still early days yet and we have a long way to go. The bike felt really good today, even in the soft sand it was still pulling really well. I made a couple of mistakes in the middle of the stage, but thankfully they didn’t cost me too much time.”
2016 Dakar champion Toby Price was flying straight from the start of today’s timed special. The Australian placed second at the first waypoint, just nine-seconds behind team-mate Sunderland.
A crash three-quarters of the way into the stage cost him a few minutes, but Price continued, eventually posting the third fastest time. Unfortunately, a five-minute penalty relegated Toby to 10th position at the end of the day.
“Everything felt really good today, I was really comfortable on the bike. I knew my pace was good and so I kept on pushing. I did come off the bike after a big drop-off from one of the dunes around the 140km mark. Luckily, I didn’t damage myself or the bike too much, the road-book got filled with sand though so for the rest of the stage I had to just ease my pace a little. One of the worst things was that I lost the end to my camelback in the crash and wasn’t able to keep hydrated towards the finish. Apart from that everything was good, you can see on days like today how important it is to stay focused and not make any mistakes. Hopefully I can keep up the same performance for the rest of the rally.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla moved up three spots in the provisional overall standings. Enjoying a strong and mistake-free run so far, the Chilean rally star is currently third overall and within striking distance to the provisional overall leader.
Entering today’s 296km-long timed special determined to show what he is capable of, Pablo quickly found himself in control of the stage. Holding on to the provisional lead until the final part of the stage, the FR 450 Rally powered rider finally posted the fifth best time for the day. Gaining ground over the leading group of riders, he is now third in the overall classification and five minutes behind the provisional leader Sam Sunderland.
“I enjoyed it a lot today, it was a really fun stage to ride. Some of the larger dunes were really soft and it was easy to get stuck. I felt really comfortable first thing this morning and was able to push right from the start. I recovered some time on the guys ahead, but then ended up losing a couple of minutes when I made a small mistake with one of the waypoints. I feel a lot fitter today than I did yesterday so that helps a lot, especially on the longer stages.”
After Barreda’s nightmare of a day, there was some positives for Honda as Kevin Benavides stormed into the battle for the overall podium, after a day filled with skilful, aggressive riding.
Runner-up spot on the day moves the Argentinean talent up to second in the general rankings. Benavides picked off his adversaries and ended up opening the field over the final stretches of the special stage.
“I am very happy and satisfied with today’s stage, where I ended up opening the track in the final kilometres. It was tough but I got a good result that leaves me in a good position. The special was very hard indeed, very difficult in the dunes, with some very soft parts, where the bike kept getting stuck in the sand. We will continue fighting this Dakar to improve on this second place in the race.”
Ricky Brabec likewise rode a splendid stage to take fourth place on a day of complicated, yet virtually error-free navigation. After Price’s penalty, Brabec was promoted into third for the day.
“It was a good stage, with very complicated navigation; difficult too, because there were a lot of ruts marked out from yesterday. I think that I didn’t make too many mistakes, or at least I haven’t paid too dearly for them. I am quite happy to finish this difficult whole stage and am pretty satisfied with the position on the day and in the overall race.”
As the second rider to take the start of Monday’s stage three, Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren was one of the first riders assigned with the demanding task of finding the correct route in the unforgiving, sandy dunes of Peru. With many parallel tracks in numerous parts of the special stage, the Frenchman made a few small mistakes, wrapping up the day 13-minutes behind the stage winner. Continuing his strong run of form in this year’s Dakar, Adrien is now sixth in the provisional overall standings.
Adrien Van Beveren
“It was a difficult day today but nothing is lost. Being among the first riders to start the stage did not help today but I did my best to remain focused. I had a few small crashes in the dunes. The sand was super soft and it was a physically demanding stage. Despite all the ups and downs during the stage, I am happy that I reached the finish without losing a lot of time. I managed to make the best out of a tough stage. My result might not be the best, but it’s not terrible. Tomorrow we have the motocross-styled start and I will be within the second group of riders starting the timed special. If it all goes well I will be able to make up some of the time lost today.”
Enjoying what was his strongest stage performance in this year’s event, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodney Faggotter got his first top 20 result finishing the stage in 18th position. Three stages into the 2018 Dakar Rally and the Queenslander is currently 21st in the provisional overall standings.
“I had a pretty good day. I started off with a good pace and kept my rhythm all the way to the finish. I am feeling really good on the bike in these conditions and this also helps me stay focused on my riding and navigation. We have a solid machine that is fast and safe at the same time and this is a big advantage in long races like the Dakar. I am having great fun so far and everything is going good for me.”
Yamaha powered riders continue to dominate the Quad class of the 2018 Dakar Rally. With Ignacio Casale securing yet another stage win, the first twelve spots in the provisional overall standings of the class are occupied by Yamaha mounted riders.
Provisional Results Stage Three – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 3:20:43
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:23:46 +3:03
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:24:38 +3:55
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 3:25:03 +4:20
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 3:25:51 +5:08
10. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 3:29:11 +8:28 (5min penalty)
Provisional Standings after Stage Three – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 6:44:23
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 6:49:01 +4:38
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 6:49:23 +5:00
4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 6:52:23 +8:00
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 6:53:13 +8:50
8. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 6:56:51 +12:28 (5min penalty)
Dakar 2018 Stage Four
Tuesday’s stage four features a circular route that starts and finishes in San Juan de Marcona.
The stage starts out on the beach and, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary, will be a reminder of the old days of the Dakar, with the first fifteen motorcycles taking the start-line together.
Dunes will dominate the landscape on the 330-kilometre route that sets off from the sands of the Pacific Ocean before arriving at over 2000 metres above sea level.