COME ON, BARREDA! Dakar biker Joan Barreda has won his third stage, can he catch up to leader Marc Coma? Image: AFP / Franck Fife
SALTA, Argentina - Joan Barreda of Spain rode his Honda to a third stage win in the Dakar Rally on Wednesday (Jan 14) in Argentina with defending champion Marc Coma extending his overall lead to nearly eight minutes with three days to go.
Barrada's chances of overall victory were shattered when he lost more than four hours with mechanical problems on the stage to Iquique, Chile, on Monday.
He had better luck on the run to Salta and crossed the line more than 90sec ahead of KTM's Coma and nearly two minutes in front of Portugal's Ruben Faria.
14TH STRAIGHT WIN
Four-times champion Coma added nearly two minutes to his advantage over his closest rival in the overall standings, Honda rider Paulo Goncalves of Portugal, who came home only fifth on the stage.
Should Spain's Coma be crowned champion at the end of the race on Saturday in Buenos Aires, it will be the 14th straight triumph for Austrian bikemaker KTM.
Meanwhile, in the quad category, Nelson Sanabria clinched his second Dakar stage win after producing a masterful ride to beat young Jeremías González by 3min40 in Cachi. Walter Nosiglia capped a South American 1-2-3 but the big winner of Wednesday’s stage was Rafal Sonik.
The Pole capitalised on the withdrawals of close rivals Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente and now has a 2hr51 margin over González Ferioli with three days to go until the finish in Buenos Aires, Argentina.