2017 Dakar Rally
Special (timed): 364km, split into two
HRC’s Joan Barreda Bort (Spain) was in a league of his own on the third day of the 2017 Dakar Rally, outclassing his rivals to claw himself to the top of the overall standings 10 minutes ahead of new second-place sitter KTM’s Sam Sunderland (Great Britain) and 16m19s ahead of Australian Toby Price (KTM) who dropped to fifth place. For Price, the stage was lost in the first 75km, after which Barreda had already taken 20 minutes off the Red Bull rider .
“The first part of the road-book was definitely tricky and I think we all got a little bit out of whack there and a little bit lost,” Price said. “Due to the liaison time, I had to sit at the end of the first portion for too long waiting for a sticker for the time card. I lost out on a bit of time there.”
The special was split into two parts with a neutralised zone of 148km separating the first 240km and the final 124km sections.
Price’s teammate Sunderland finished the stage in second place, 12m29s adrift of the stage victor, while two-time World Endurance Champion Alexandre Renet Pierre (Husqvarna) finished third on the day to lift himself up to eighth place in the overall standings.
Despite the blow, Price remains seemingly unfazed about the effect the tough day will have on his 2017 Dakar campaign.
“We’re definitely going to work our way back,” he said. “I won last year by almost forty minutes so surely we can try and do something there, it should be good. It’s the way it is – you’re never going to lead the thing from start to finish. You’re always going to have a bad day here and there, so we’ll just wait and see. Hopefully my bad day is over and done with now and the rest of the days will be good!”
Aussie Yamaha rider Rod Faggotter rode another solid stage to finish 19th, 35m14s behind Barreda and moves to 13th overall. KTM’s Dakar debutant Todd Smith got through the day penalty free and his 28th-place stage ranking elevates him to 45th overall, while Aussie privateer Matthew Hart ended the day 41st and currently sits 58th overall.
Barreda Bort (Spa) 1st 1st
Sunderland (GBr) 2nd 2nd
Gonçalves (Por) 5th 3rd
Price (Aus) 9th 5th
Faggotter (Aus) 19th 13th
Smith (Aus) 28th 45th
Hart (Aus) 41st 58th