Spreedbrain Husqvarna: Historic stage win for Husqvarna
Joan Barreda and the Bavarian-Italian Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain celebrated a historic win at stage ten of the Rally Dakar 2012.
Barreda managed to close the gap to his fellow countryman Marc Coma right after the start. He was able to maintain the speed of the three-time Dakar champion and both caught race leader Cyril Despres. The three riders rode a ridiculous speed all stage long, with Barreda eventually taking a convincing win. This proves two things: Barreda has the speed of the best rally pilots in the world. And the Speedbrain-developed Husqvarna rally bike is capable of victories.
Paulo Goncalves´ day also started well. The Portuguese had the virtual lead for the first 180 kilometres. A Husqvarna one-two was in the cards. But the Portuguese hit a hidden stone in the sinking sand, sending him violently over the handlebars. The bike was pretty damaged afterwards, luckily the rider was okay. Goncalves fixed the bike and went back into the race. He finally arrived at Arica 19:23 minutes behind his teammate.
Goncalves nevertheless defended seventh spot in the standings.
Jose Manuel Pellicer und Zé Hélio rode a steady stage. The Brazililan and the Spaniard are lying around the top twenty.
Team principal Wolfgang Fischer said after the stage: “All our hard work has been rewarded with this historic win. We´re extremely happy to see our bike perform that well – obviously a machine capable of winning at the Dakar against the world´s best. Earning this result is very satisfying to say the least. A stage win against two of the sport´s greatest.”
KTM factory riders Marc Coma and Cyril Despres continued their dominance of the Dakar 2012 on Wednesday finishing second and third in Stage 10. Spanish rider Joan Barreda took his first career stage victory, breaking the stage victory run by the two KTM rivals who continue to battle it out for the overall lead. They are both vying for their fourth Dakar Rally title.
Despres sprang back from adversity on Tuesday after getting stuck in a mud hole on Monday to take his third stage victory in Stage Nine. He opened the road today as riders tackled more than their fair share of sand in Chile’s coastal deserts on the way from Iquique to Arica right on the Chilean-Peruvian border.
In this increasingly tight two-way battle it was Coma who prevailed on Wednesday and he finished one minute 32 seconds behind the leader. Despres, who expended a great deal of energy on Tuesday in his passionate ride to win Stage Nine, sacrificed some valuable time. He now leads the overall standings for this 9,000 km race from Mar del Plata on the Atlantic coast of Argentina to Peru on the Pacific Coast by just 21 seconds.
Stage 10 sent riders on 317 km of liaison sections and a timed special of 377 km. They started in the sand dunes then would up the day again dealing with the dreaded fesh-fesh, the power-fine dust feared by all.
Navigation was again an issue for the riders and even Despres and Coma were reported to have made a small detour at the beginning of the timed special at the 161 km mark. They were not the only ones to fall into navigation traps as the day progressed and both are very aware that such a slip can cost them the title. Among riders to head north instead of northeast at the 238 km mark were KTM support riders Rubin Faria and Joan Pedrero and KTM riders Felipe Zanol and Gerard Farres Guell. As Coma and Despres fight it out for what would be KTM’s eleventh Dakar, the Spanish rider said at the end of the stage that the race will now “hinge on the smallest of margins”.
“It’s the tone that’s been set for the rally and I think we’ll keep on battling until the end. We keep trying to make the difference all the time and the entry into Peru will be decisive. The race will hinge on the smallest of margins. When the performance level is equivalent with the same team and the same bike, it’s very difficult, both for him (Despres) and for me. But when it comes to the crunch, it will be entirely up to either one rider or the other.”
Despres agreed saying: “At this level, every second counts. It’s a scenario that I thought might happen, so I’m not surprised. I’m just happy to have got through another day. In any case, staying out in front for the whole 377 km while riding flat out isn’t easy. If I finish in his (Coma’s) dust or him in mine, it doesn’t change that much.”
While Despres and Coma have been the dominant Dakar riders since the world’s toughest rally moved to South America in 2009, tomorrow they will enter new territory. The fourth South America edition of the Dakar moves into a third country, Peru. They now have to negotiate their way through the region of the famous Nazcar Lines territory and on to the finish at Lima.
Stage 11 is to be split into two times sections and while riders will be permitted to work on their machines at the half way mark, their support crews will not be able to assist them. Organizers say this this move was to inspire the “The Spirit of the Dakar” among competitors, forcing them to share tools and advice on mechanical matters. This maintenance method was also deployed in Morocco during the 2007 Dakar.
32nd Chris Birch – What a great day for Chris… he and Darryl ploughed on ahead as if the dust and fesh-fesh were nothing… Chris ended the day’s stage in a very nice 17th and Darryl in 18th. Chris caught up 4 places overall, from 38th to 34th. Overall, for Chris it is hard to catch too many places as the actual time differences from his crash early on in the race are pretty big – 10, 15, 20 minutes to gain on a few more places. It is achievable though and anything could happen! But remember – we firstly want him home (SA and NZ!) in one piece having FINISHED!!- Monica
“Yup did pretty well today! I didn’t ride any faster, I just didn’t get lost and others did!! I got to these massive dunes and thought hmmm I’m not to hot on navigation through the dunes, and I got to the fast guys and though un oh I stuffed it up – but it turns out they had somewhere along the way instead, not me!!
Really cool riding today, the last few days have been not so great so it was nice to have some cool riding. We rode along one part and saw ancient Aztec carvings on the side of mountains, that was pretty awesome.
On to Peru tomorrow! Two countries down, one to go. Tomorrow’s road book is a total monster, I’ve got at least 2 hours of going through that still tonight. I’m finding that as long as someone is around I’m good, as I don’t stray from the track but sometimes find I can get a bit lost within the road book!”
41st Laia Sanz “Did not race much to try to preserve the bike in the face in the coming days.” Today there were pilots who have broken the engine and I don’t want that to happen to me. Tomorrow we have the marathon stage and I won’t have a mechanic, so I do not want surprises by what it’ll muy tranquillo. I am very aware that we must take a pace comfortable but safe and that’s what I’m doing. I am happy because I feel comfortable reading the road book and browsing. In the dunes, today had a couple of points of conflict, where many have been lost. “Fortunately, I’ve found the right path and that reinforces my confidence.”
56th Ned Suesse – (excerpt from call in).. Another good day. I like the morning transfer sections, they are kind of like cool road rides where you can enjoy the morning and country side, sort of forget about the race for a little bit. Today was lots of silt and then there were some really rough sections and those are hard on my wrists. That is about the only physical issue I have right now. After gas we got into some more dunes. I got through all the navigation without too much trouble. I actually picked up a some stragglers and led them through the section.
At one point the course turned and dropped hard off the road, down a couple of hundred yards to the next road at the bottom. I could see a long black streak where Robby Gordon had looked the brakes coming to the turn off this steep edge. Obviously he realized he couldn’t get stopped in time, so he just mashed the gas as he went off and basically jumped off the steep drop. Then I could see the tracks where he hit on the way down. It is just insane what these cars can do.