Joan Barreda tops stage 10 results at Dakar Rally 2020 taking the win ahead of Ricky Brabec who grows his lead to 25 minutes as Toby Price loses third overall.
Joan Barreda took his first Dakar Rally stage win of 2020, heading an emphatic 1-2-3 results for Honda Rally Team on the stage 10 and moves to third overall relegating Toby Price to fourth.
Strong winds deep in the largest sandy desert on the earth forced Dakar Rally 2020 organisers to call an early halt to stage 10 on safety grounds. Many riders were injured today on a course reported to have many drops and hidden dips which are bad enough at high speed without poor visibility (plus helicopters need to fly for medical assistance etc.).
Riders were halted at a neutralised zone between Haradh and Shubaytah after 345km bringing a premature result and a few less racing kilometres (almost 200km) for the bikes on this first leg of the final marathon stage.
Joan Barreda may have had a slow(ish) start to his 2020 Dakar but since the second week began, he has been the rider in form. Looking more like the ‘bang-bang’ Barreda we know of old, the Spaniard today finished 1m:07s ahead of Ricky Brabec and 2m:31s ahead of Kevin Benavides in third.
Stage 10 results saw Barreda come home just shy of three minutes ahead of Toby Price in fourth, which means Joan now steals the provisional third podium spot overall with two days remaining.
“It was not easy for me in the first week, but after that I got a better feeling, especially on the sandy stages.” Explains Barreda. “It will not be easy because tomorrow we are starting from here with a lot of dunes. It will be difficult to stay on the podium because tomorrow I’ll be starting in front and all the fast riders will be behind. So for the victory there will be Toby and Pablo and they will have more time to catch me. But it's like that.
“What's important is to go day by day. Tomorrow we will give it our all again because we still have two stages.”
Brabec not getting hopes up yet...
It was, as you’ll have spotted, another Honda podium lock-out on today’s stage with Rally leader, Ricky Brabec, putting in a solid shift, just over one minute down on Barreda and looking increasingly like the champion elect: “It’s another day closer to victory and the American dream.” Said Brabec. “I’m excited to be here in one piece, for sure.
“My strategy today was to kind of take it easy. Others had difficulty finding a way point. They cancelled the second part of the special, so I’m kind of bummed out a little bit, because I couldn’t really check the times and play around with the times. But, we didn’t win the day so that’s good – I won’t have to open tomorrow. We’re happy for tomorrow. I wouldn’t say I’m having good luck, I’m just trying to stay smart and be focused.”
With the end of the Rally now almost in sight and a very healthy 25 minute lead, the Honda rider is mindful of not getting ahead of himself: “We have two days left, two more sleeps, so I’m not going to get any hopes up yet, but we’re going to do our best to finish the next two days. There’s no pressure.” Adds Ricky.
“We have a long way [to go], so we’re not going to let the pressure affect us and let people get into our heads. The main target is to finish each day. I’m not going to feel like victory is coming until we’re there at the finish on the last special.”
It all looks very rosy indeed for Honda with Brabec holding 25 minutes over Pablo Quintanilla in second overall – despite a tough day as the first rider on the road and dropping five minutes to his rivals. Still, they all got an early lunch…
Toby Price wasn’t far behind in this battle with the top four all within three minutes – and who knows how it would have panned out if the scheduled further 189 kilometres had been raced?
For Price, it looks a lot like the Dakar is slipping out of his hands after a stage which hampered their (the KTM Rally team's) plans to “push” tomorrow: “It’s a little frustrating that the stage was cut short as I was planning on finishing a little further back to make up more time tomorrow.
“It is what it is and of course it was definitely the right decision to make regards safety. The good news is, the bike’s in good shape and we’re all ready for tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, I’ll still be starting quite near the front, so it’ll be tough to make up a lot of time on the leaders, but I’m feeling strong and looking forward to the last couple of days.”
In the intriguing battle for best rookie honours, Jaume Betriu pulled back time on Martin Michek overall on a stage which saw them both finish down the order in 34th and 37th respectively. Less than one minute now separates the fastest rookie riders.
Standout rookie performer of the day though, in a late shuffle of the timing sheets, was Jamie McCanney. You could say standout performer of the day fullstop for the Manxman who pulled P7 out the bag for his best stage result, well, ever.
On a day when Yamaha rider, Australian Rodney Faggotter also jumped inside the top 10 in sixth place, the result puts McCanney and his Factory Yamaha inside the top 20 overall.
Stage 11 tomorrow begins with the “finest dunes in Saudi Arabia” heading to Haradh covering a total of 744 kilometres with a timed special of 379 kilometres.
Dakar Rally 2020, stage 10 results:
Dakar Rally 2020 overall results after stage 10:
Full results: Dakar.com/rankingsPhoto Credit: F. Lamand/F. Gooden/J. Delfosse/ASO Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org