Barreda’s pride wins a prize with excitement

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The Valencian, who has won at least one stage in all editions since 2012, achieved his thirtieth partial victory with uncertainty due to the organization’s compensation for Nacho Cornejo, who helped Joaquim Rodrigues

There are constants that recur around these dates each year: for days you eat what was left over on New Year’s Eve, you check the weather more often to see if you can do the Epiphany Parade and Joan Barreda is the great Spanish motorcycle hope in the Dakar falls that in the end. This has been the case since he debuted in 2011 when he was already nicknamed Bang Bang in the world.

Twelve years later, Barreda is at his best. And ironically, it should be at its worst then. Honda removed him from the official structure after his disappointing performance in 2022, forcing him to set up his own team at the last minute (with help from his former bosses). They were not the best omens for an edition of the Dakar that, in their own words, could be the last. Breaking a toe on the third day of the raid didn’t help his expectations either.

And yet, with a semi-private motorcycle, at the age of 39, with pain in his finger (which he has bruised) and on a difficult day, Joan Barreda seemed to have achieved his thirtieth Dakarian stage victory, the first this year , with which he maintained his full strength since 2012 to win at least one day. The Valencian had won in a lively time trial final against Pablo Quintanilla by less than a minute and the Spaniards in the caravan (very numerous, including pilots, mechanics and journalists) were already preparing their congratulations for Barreda when he arrived at the bivouac. And the classic mess with time began.

Nacho Cornejo had pulled in more than fifteen minutes behind Barreda, but by staying behind to help Joaquim Rodrigues, who had an accident at kilometer 90 of the special and had to be evacuated to Ha’il hospital with a broken leg, the organization felt that it had to make up for lost time. They initially thought Cornejo had lost about 25 minutes when he stopped to help the Hero team driver, but they later measured that time at just 7:35.

Now that this mess has been resolved, and unless Honda protests the decision in the coming days, Joan Barreda, not without tension, retains his full position since 2012 and already has 30 partial victories in the Dakar. The result puts him just 25 seconds behind third overall and just over four minutes off the lead held by Sanders.

After the hellish day on Tuesday, it was very clear to Carlos Sainz that this Wednesday he should have a damage control phase and no problems. Losing time was the worst thing that could happen to him, knowing that the current stage of the general classification is Nasser Al-Attiyah’s favourite. The Qatari never needed to attack to take a Dakar win, and on a very even day on all four wheels, he resisted with no problem.

Victory of the day went to Sebastien Loeb. The BRX Frenchman showed that the Hunter is a prototype that can bring him a lot of fun, although his problems in the early days almost ruled him out of final victory as he lost more than an hour and a half to the leader. Although minimally possible with Stéphane Peterhansel, little was worth the great day for the nine-time World Rally Champion who faced his options.

Sainz had a tough day where he came out more than unscathed. Starting from twenty-sixth position (doing this as the last driver in the Platinum category, having come in forty-fourth the previous day), he had to overtake numerous noticeably slower cars on the day’s hard tracks, adding to the added risk of a jab. While not without suffering, El Matador and Lucas Cruz crossed the finish line just 1:50 behind Loeb, but only 16 seconds behind Al-Attiyah. The Qatari resists as the outstanding leader with just over 18 minutes on Yazeed Al-Rahji and over half an hour on Sainz. There are still days left to turn the situation around.

Ha’il will also be the base of another loop this Thursday, but for another completely contested route on sand. The sea of ​​dunes will force the sailors not to fail, so the co-pilots will have a leading role and greater responsibility. Lucas Cruz will have to do it from the chest.

Source: La Verdad

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