Although Joan Barreda grabbed his first victory in this year’s rally on completion of a shortened stage in Shubaytah, the Spaniard must feel hopeless to thwart the supremacy of his team-mate Ricky Brabec, who again increased his lead in the general standings. In the car category, on the evening of the marathon stage, the race hierarchy is more distinctly dominated by Carlos Sainz again, following the navigational mishaps of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel.
Has Joan Barreda taken too much time to hit top pace? The Spaniard won his first special of the year after several good stages in previous days and could pay for his over-cautious first week of the rally. This is in stark contrast with his Honda team-mate Ricky Brabec, who was quick to build up a healthy lead over the pack, which he continues to maintain stage after stage. The same attitude was adopted to date by Ignacio Casale before the Chilean’s navigational failure on stage ten, which cost him a considerable portion of his lead over Simon Vitse, leaving the spotlight to Polish rider Kamil Wiśniewski, who won the day’s special. Carlos Sainz scored a double whammy by winning the stage and especially taking advantage of the navigation mistakes made by Stéphane Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah, to regain breathing space in the general standings. With a lead that now stands at 18 minutes, El Matador will be able to see his rivals coming. This is also the case for Casey Currie, who moved further ahead in the general standings following the difficulties of Chaleco López, with the stage victory going to rookie and Dakar Experience competitor Mitchell Guthrie. In the truck race, Anton Shibalov brought a halt to the series of wins by his Kamaz team-mate Andrey Karginov, without worrying the Russian who is heading for his second triumph on the Dakar.
Performance of the day
Following the splendid stage victory achieved by Mathieu Serradori on Monday, another French amateur hogged the limelight on the way to Shubaytah thanks to the fine fourth place obtained by Pierre Lachaume. It should be pointed out that the boss of the Sport 2000 chain of shops is starting to get to know his Peugeot 2008 DKR very well and that he learned the ropes with the best when he was part of the same PH Sport team as Sébastien Loeb on the last Dakar in Peru. Today, this has allowed him to fulfil his initial goal of entering the top 10 in the general standings, just two days from the finish.
A crushing blow
Chaleco López was still in the reckoning to defend his title with second place in the SSV general standings this morning, twenty-some minutes behind Casey Currie. However, he has perhaps lost all hope following greater complications than expected when changing a wheel after a puncture at the start of the special. The Chilean lost almost one hour to the stage winner and drops down a place in the general standings. Yet, the main problem is particularly the gap that now separates him from the American rally leader two days from the end of the race: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Stat of the day
With 7 different nationalities riding the first 10 bikes to finish the day’s special, the Dakar is more cosmopolitan than ever. The top ten contained an American, two Chileans, a Spaniard, an Australian, an Austrian, two Argentineans and a Slovak, though not necessarily in that order. There are no French riders in this list and if the situation continues, it will be the first time in the rally’s history that the founding country will not be represented in motorcycling’s elite. However, Adrien Metge, in 12th position, twenty minutes behind the 10th placed Svitko, could still creep into the top 10…
Quote of the day
Stéphane Peterhansel: “Today was not a really good day for us. We started first this morning and we got lost just twenty kilometres before the end of the stage. We turned around 8 or 10 minutes before we found the right track. Nasser lost a little bit more, but Carlos and some other drivers were really lucky because they arrived just when we found the right way and then for them it was easy to follow us. At the end, we finished together. I think that it was really good because Carlos has been leading since the beginning, he is really fast and now he has a gap over Nasser. For the victory for the team it’s more comfortable, for sure”.