Tuesday 18th December: All tracks closed today.

Stage 7:Barreda fights Back

Dakar 2014

maddix park mx

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Spain's Joan Barreda took his third victory in the 2014 edition, beating overall leader Marc Coma by 4′03″ at the end of a historic stage that took the Dakar to its 28th country. 

The seventh stage of the motorcycle/quad rally, raced at an average of over 3,700 masl, was shortened from 401 km to 104 km due to yesterday's rain in the Salta region. More than enough to push man and machine to the limit, but not enough to keep a lid on the rider standing second overall. Joan Barreda made good use of his fifth place in this morning's starting order to unleash a flurry of attacks and grab his third victory this year and the eighth one of his career, 4′03″ ahead of fellow countryman Marc Coma. The Catalan, third off the line this morning, drove within his limits throughout stage 7, holding onto Barreda's wheel once the latter had caught up with him and clinging on to limit the difference between himself and his main rival for the title. A carbon copy of the tactic used by defending champion Cyril Despres, who finished third in Uyuni, 5′35″ behind the stage winner.

Today's flop was Alain Duclos, who suffered the opener's cure and made a navigation mistake towards the beginning of the stage, costing him almost 20 minutes in Uyuni, the site of the historic bivouac of the second marathon stage of the 36th edition. As a result, the Sherco rider lost his third place in the provisional overall classification to Jordi Viladoms by just 32 seconds. Marc Coma's former lieutenant now sits in third place, but 38 minutes behind second-placed Joan Barreda, which is almost the same gap as between the Honda rider and leader Coma. The fight for the title during the second week is shaping up to be a duel in the desert.

omments:

Despres: The altitude affected me a bit physically

I made sure to breathe in deeply on a couple of ridges, because it's true that when you go on the attack you feel that the altitude affects you a bit physically. A nice special, not too difficult, but with lots of technical, fun parts. I'm always wary when I see mud because you never know what lurks beyond a puddle. If the water is brown, you can't see whether it's 20 or 50 cm deep, so it's easy to fall. Of course, it's not easy to drive in the mud and fill the radiators and air inlets with filth, but no worries, we'll clean it up.

Duclos: I wasn't really focused

I didn't really care because the death of Eric [Palante] was still fresh in my mind and the altitude gave me a headache. So I wasn't really focused. As a result, I got lost in the first part of the special, and thereafter I just tried to make it to the finish. Then, in the second part, I woke up and pulled out all the stops to try and get back all the time I'd lost in the first special. At any rate, the motorcycle doesn't miss a beat, the entire Sherco team has worked hard on the machine, and it shows. Nothing to report, everything is well.

www.motorcycle-usa.com  Byron Wilson's Report

Team HRC’s Joan Barreda notched his third stage win of the 2014 Dakar Rally in Stage 7, a high altitude test that took riders into Bolivia for the first time in the history of the competition. Current overall leader Marc Coma of Red Bull Factory KTM posted the second-fastest time, followed by defending Dakar champion Cyril Despres of Factory Yamaha in third.

The trek from Salta to Uyuni was delayed due to low, dense clouds that kept the safety helicopters grounded. The day’s stage was then shortened, with riders taking off 64 miles into the originally planned course. Samsung Sherco Rally Factory’s Alain Duclos led the way off the start after his victory in Stage 6, but a few miles in the French rider made a navigation error and ceded the lead to Speedbrain’s Jeremias Israel Esquerre. Factory Yamaha’s Cyril Despres, Barreda’s teammate Helder Rodrigues and Coma held steady in the lead pack as well.

Esquerre slipped back in the ranks as the day wore on while Barreda pushed forward. The Honda rider led the way at the end of the first portion of the special section, which was separated by a few miles of connection to the final portion. Barreda, Coma and Despres held steady at the top through the final miles of the stage.

"For sure I´m very happy about my result," said Barreda. "Anyway it was very hard to stay focused. The high altitude made me feel a bit dizzy. Especially when the going got tough in the water and mud of the river."

Duclos’ teammate, Juan Pedrero Garcia, crossed the line fourth-fastest followed by KTM’s Jakub Przygonski in fifth. Esquerre finished in sixth less than one minute ahead of Rodrigues in seventh. Mario Patrao placed his Suzuki inside the top-10 for the first time in the current Dakar, finishing eighth.

Coma maintains his overall lead through Stage 7. Barreda was able to shave some minutes off his deficit, but still sits over 38 minutes behind Coma in second-place. Viladoms moves to third overall while Duclos loses one position, dropping to fourth. Esquerre rounds out the top-five.

Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 7: Salta – Uyuni Results 
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 3:28:41 
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 3:32:44 
3. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 3:34:16 
4. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (Sherco) 3:35:38 
5. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 3:37:37 
6. Jeremias Israel Esquerre, CHL (Speedbrain) 3:38:45 
7. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 3:39:38 
8. Mario Patrao, PRT (Suzuki) 3:40:08 
9. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 3:40:18 
10. Jordi Villadoms, ESP (KTM) 3:40:38

Dakar Rally 2014 Overall Standings after Stage 7 
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 26:40:44 
2. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 27:18:58 
3. Jordi Villadoms, ESP (KTM) 27:56:47 
4. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 27:57:19 
5. Jeremias Israel Esquerre, CHL (Speedbrain) 28:20:13 
6. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 28:31:26 
7. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 28:35:36 
8. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 28:49:02 
9. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 29:04:34 
10. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 29:06:57

 
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