Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 3 Results

Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 3 Results | Honda Joan Barreda
Honda’s Joan Barreda

When the 2016 Dakar Rally got underway Monday with stage 2 (stage 1 was canceled due to storms), KTM’s Toby Price struck first. The top five consisted of three KTMs, a Husqvarna and a Sherco – and not one Honda.

But that changed on Tuesday for Dakar Rally stage 3 – Honda CRF450 Rally machinery dominated, earning all three podium positions. Stage 3 was originally scheduled to take riders a total of 412 miles (195 timed) from Termas de Rio Hondo to San Salvadore, but it was shortened 125 miles due to conditions from Sunday’s storm.

Leading the charge was one of this year’s favorites for the win – Team HRC Honda’s Joan Barreda, who also won the prologue for this year’s Dakar. Barreda beat Honda South America Rally Team’s Kevin Benavides to the line by 26 seconds. Finishing third, 52 seconds behind, was Barreda’s teammate Paulo Goncalves.

This was Barreda’s 14th Dakar Rally stage win, and he took the lead in the overall standings; he now has a 14-second lead over KTM’s Stefan Svitko.

Joan Barreda says “Today was a great day after yesterday, when I had to open the track, but today we started from behind which gave us a good position to attack from. We were very focused throughout the stage, which had very little navigation but plenty of radars that you had to be careful of. I kept a great pace throughout the 200 km and I’ve got the leadership back.”

The surprise rider was Honda South America Rally Team’s Benavides. The Argentinean slipped into third overall in the standings.

Kevin Benavides says: “Today was a nice stage for me. I really enjoyed it and it was a great one to ride: mountain tracks, hard ground and very few rocks. It really surprised me to finish in second place. I’m living for the day in the stages and tomorrow’s strategy will be to look after the bike as we have now arrived at the marathon stage. I have to keep a firm foot on the ground and stay focused on the job.”

Rounding out the top five at Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 3 was Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team’s Meo Antoine and Svitko, respectively.

As for America’s Ricky Brabec on the Team HRC Honda CRF450 Rally, he finished 22nd during stage 3, and is now 22nd overall.

Ricky Brabec says: “Today was just like yesterday. It was really fast and hard to make up a lot of time, but easy to lose a lot of time again. Today was awesome; the roads were good, the spectators were good and the navigation wasn’t that tricky. I rode well and I’m happy with my finish. We’re all here and ready to go again tomorrow.”

Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 4 Terrain (courtesy of Honda)

Stage four will take riders a total of 391 miles from San Salvador de Jujuy – San Salvador de Jujuy, with a 266-mile timed special (Marathon stage).

Jujuy will have a very decisive stage in store. The San Salvador de Jujuy loop will not be bringing the competitors back to the bivouac where the technical crew are housed. Instead, there will be the first part of the strict marathon stage where riders are forced to quarantine the bikes after the special stage. Only the riders themselves will be allowed to carry out any mechanical revisions or repairs. The following morning they will be handed back the machines in the same state that they were delivered to the parc ferme. Extra caution with the mechanics will be required.

On many levels, the competitors face their first real test here with the marathon stage. The special section takes place at an average of 3,500 m altitude, with incessant changes in pace resulting from alternating sandy and rocky terrain. This gruelling route will be on the agenda when everyone already has 2,500 km in the saddle or bucket seat, which is already exhausting for the lower placed drivers. First and foremost, this is the start of a very particular marathon stage, with a closed area for the vehicles… and for the competitors.

Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 3 Results (top five):

1. Joan Barreda (POR), Honda, 2 hours 03 minutes 37 seconds
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, + 00.26 seconds
3. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, + 00.52
4. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM + 00.53
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM + 00.57

Dakar Rally 2016 Overall Results after Stage 3:

1. Barreda at 6 hours 26 minutes 50 seconds
2. Svitko + 00.14
3. Benavides + 0048
4. Goncalves + 01.08
5. Duclos + 01.10
6. Walkner + 01.47
7. Quintanilla + 02.38
8. Faria +03.57
9. Pedrero + 04.33
10. Price + 05.03