A blistering performance from Joan Barreda has seen the Monster Energy Honda Team rider catapulted into the lead of the 2018 Dakar at the conclusion of stage two as the race moved on from Pisco.
A rough offroad ride and sand dunes were the order of the day for stage two of the 2018 Dakar Rally. The course featured a total of 279 kilometres with 95% of the distance against the clock. The stage was something of an anomaly given that the cars got to start out before the bikes, leaving riders to deal with heavily churned up sand after their four-wheeled counter parts had roared through.
The initial section of the 277-kilometre stage around the outskirts of Ica and Paracas, required some skillful navigation in soft yet physically demanding dunes, complicated further by the altitude.
Joan Barreda took a strong swcond stage win to take the overall lead
Joan Barreda gave a master class in speed with a commanding performance in the special stage. The Spaniard completed the course in 2 h 56’ 44” nearly three minutes less than the stage runner-up Adrien van Beveren. Barreda thus moves to the head of the overall leader board.
"A hard, tough stage with quite a confusing part at the beginning where we had to keep our concentration," Barreda explained. "I jumped a dune hard and I really felt that in my hand over the next few kilometers. The final part was very fast and I was able to pick up quite a bit of space and in the end it turned out well. Tomorrow we have to open the track and everything changes again, but we always knew that it would be that way and we just have to keep on as best we can."
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Adrien Van Beveren took second for the second day and remains second overall.
Securing a second consecutive runner-up stage result, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Adrien Van Beveren retained a fast and mistake-free pace to cross the finish line with the second-best time for the day. Continuing his strong run of form in this year's event, the Frenchman now finds himself second and less than three minutes behind the provisional overall leader.
"We got the first difficult stage out of the way with a good result," Van Beveren said. "For me today wasn't a day that I wanted to push hard. We all knew navigation would be tricky so my goal was to find the right balance between going fast and not making any mistakes. I'm happy it all went well and I could secure second again today. Starting behind the cars today we were faced with difficult track conditions and many, many stones. Despite that, it was easy for me to get a good race pace today and this is really encouraging for the days to come. I want to keep this same feeling for the rest of the race as I believe this is the key to success in the Dakar."
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Matthias Walkner improved to third place on stage 2.
Improving on his sixth-place result from day one, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Matthias Walkner rode well in the heat of the desert. The Austrian moved through the field as the stage progressed to finish in third place, less than two minutes behind second-placed Adrien van Beveren. Walkner was pleased with his result and hopes to carry his pace into tomorrow’s longer stage.
"Conditions were tough out there today," Walkner said. "Following the cars made navigation a little easier but the stage was quite bumpy with all the tracks left by the vehicles in front. Personally, I’m feeling well, but I know we have a long way to go and things are only going to get harder. I know from experience that the race isn’t won on these first few days, in fact there are about 15 guys who are riding well and up near the front. I’ll keep on riding consistently, see how the next few stages go and aim to get to the rest day in a good position.”
Michael Metge bounced back from yesterday’s delayed time to post a noteworthy result. The Frenchman looked at ease on the bike and scored fourth spot on the day and now holds ninth in the overall standings.
"Pretty good today, right? In front of us the cars had marked out many ruts and it was difficult to climb the big dunes," Metge explained. "I think I took it quite easy and I tried to make sure I was on the right track. This is a great result after yesterday’s one, but we must be aware that the Dakar is long and anything can still happen."
Day one winner Sam Sunderland opened the road for the bikes. Although the motorcycles set off behind the cars today, navigation was still tricky and it was easy to make mistakes in the mountainous dunes of the stage. Placing seventh today means Sunderland will be looking to chase down the leaders on tomorrow’s 500km stage three. The Brit has now dropped back to 4th in the overall standings.
"I’m happy with how things went today," Sunderland said. "I would have liked to finish a little higher up the order, but it was never going to be easy being the first bike on the stage. I thought it wouldn’t be too bad following the cars but as it turned out the first 50 or 60km of the stage were in chaos. The car tracks went everywhere as they had struggled to climb some of the dunes. I ended up catching a few and riding in their dust. It was hot out there today, but I felt ok even after such a tough stage. I’ve got a good start position for tomorrow so we’ll see what that brings.”
Toby Price was the best of the Aussies with 10th on the second stage and now sits tenth overall.
Toby Price was the best of the Australian's and continues to get himself dialed in, both to his new KTM 450 RALLY and to competition in general. The Australian increased his pace as the day went on and moved up from his start position of 14th to 10th at the end of the stage and now holds the same position overall.
"It was the first stage with proper navigation today and I did ok," Price declared. "The cars ahead of us were everywhere – I think their numbers must have been halved after today, there were so many of them side-lined. I managed to catch Laia quite early on, around the 40 or 50km mark, and we rode together for a while. Overall, I am feeling good and inside the top-10 is not a bad place to be. I just need to concentrate on my riding, navigation and hopefully I can pick up the pace a little as the race progresses.”
Putting his experience to good use, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Rodney Faggotter made some good steps closer to the top of the leader board. Wrapping up the stage in 22nd position, the Aussie is now one place away from the top 20 in the provisional overall standings.
"We had a good day as a team and for me individually," Faggotter said. "Going into the rally's first long and difficult stage my plan was to remain focused on my navigation. There were some really tricky waypoints but I did my best to stick to the road book and to the guidelines we got from Jordi Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team sport director Jordi Arcarons] during our pre-stage briefing. It all went well and I completed the stage without making any mistake. So far we had zero problems and I continue making some good progress in the overall rankings. I'm looking forward to stage three tomorrow."
Australian privateer Scott Britnell finished in 100th spot and now sits in 81st overall.
Tomorrow, Monday, sees the third stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally setting out from Pisco with destination San Juan de Marcona, covering a total of 504 kilometers, including 296 km against the clock. The first of the bike category will set off at 05:45 and is scheduled to arrive at the San Juan de Marcona bivouac at approximately 14:00 hrs.
Dakar 2018 - Stage 2 Results - Sunday, January 7th 2018 1 Barreda Joan 5 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 02:56'44 2 Van Beveren Adrien 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +02'54 3 Walkner Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +04'24 4 Metge Michael 14 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +04'39 5 Benavides Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +05'43 6 Quintanilla Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +05'45 7 Sunderland Sam 1 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +06'01 8 de Soultrait Xavier 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +06'12 9 Caimi Franco 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +06'36 10 Price Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +06'40 11 Barragán Jonathan 60 SPA Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +06'43 12 Brabec Ricky 20 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +07'19 13 Cornejo José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +09'32 14 Meo Antoine 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +09'43 15 Farres Gerard 3 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +10'53 22 Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 03:17:42, +20:45 100 Scott Britnell (Aus), 04h 43' 38' + 01h 46' 54'
Provisional Standings after Stage 2 1 Barreda Joan 5 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 03:18'36 2 Van Beveren Adrien 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +02'30 3 Walkner Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +04'50 4 Sunderland Sam 1 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +05'04 5 Quintanilla Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +05'44 6 de Soultrait Xavier 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +06'22 7 Benavides Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +06'39 8 Caimi Franco 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +07'10 9 Metge Michael 14 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +07'33 10 Price Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +09'04 11 Brabec Ricky 20 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +06'43 14 Cornejo José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +09'32 21 Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 03:43:00, +24:24 81 Scott Britnell (Aus), 05h 12' 33' + 01h 53' 57'
Stages Left to run Stage 3 | Jan 8 | Pisco to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 295km | Total: 501km Stage 5 | Jan 9 | San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 330km | Total: 444km Stage 5 | Jan 10 | San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa | SS: 264km | Total: 770km Stage 6 | Jan 11 | Arequipa to La Paz | SS: 313km | Total: 758km Rest Day | Jan 12 Stage 7 | Jan 13 | La Paz to Uyuni | SS: 425km | Total: 726km Stage 8 | Jan 14 | Uyuni to Tupiza | SS: 498km | Total: 584km Stage 9 | Jan 15 | Tupiza to Salta | SS: 242km | Total: 754km Stage 10 | Jan 16 | Salta to Belén| SS: 372km | Total: 795km Stage 11 | Jan 17 | Belén to Fiambalá | SS: 280km | Total: 484km Stage 12 | Jan 18 | Fiambalá to San Juan | SS: 375km | Total: 722km Stage 13 | Jan 19 | San Juan to Córdoba | SS: 423km | Total: 904km Stage 14 | Jan 20 | Córdoba to Córdoba | SS: 119km | Total: 284km