“It was a real shame about yesterday,” said Barreda regarding his 15-minute speeding penalty following Stage 9. “I was relying on the Iritrack alarm sounding, but by the time I realized that it hadn’t gone off, it was already too late. A shame. Today we started out from behind and I had to stay really focused because the navigation was tricky. I kept a cool head and kept upping the pace with every kilometer. I clawed back a few minutes. Let’s see how it plays out tomorrow in Copiapó.”
Stage 10 was broken into two timed portions separated by 114 miles of neutralized zone. Though Coma led the way off the start after his Stage 9 victory, Despres surpassed the KTM rider within the opening miles. Honda rider Daniel Gouet was also strong, crossing the 20-mile-mark second-fastest. Rodrigues, Viladoms, Speedbrain’s Jeremias Israel Esquerre and Despres’ teammate Oliver Pain held top-10 positions initially as well.
Gouet lost a number of minutes entering the dune portion of the special when a bike issue forced him to stop briefly. Rodrigues pushed ahead of Despres as riders crossed the 44-mile mark while the Yamaha ace battled with Coma for position.
Barreda was on the hunt though and pushing hard, taking over the stage lead 66 miles into the day’s competition. He was trailed by Esquerre on the timesheet briefly, but the Chilean rider crashed in a narrow, rocky portion of the course and was forced to pull out of this year’s competition. Reports from the field indicate that while Esquerre didn’t escape unharmed, his injuries weren’t too serious.
The Honda rider maintained his position out front to the second checkpoint, with Rodrigues close behind in second. Pain crossed CP2 in third followed by Team HRC’s Javier Pizzolito in fourth and KTM’s Jakub Przygonski in fifth. At this point in the stage Despres had fallen back to sixth and Coma was in ninth. By the end of the first portion of the special Despres moved into podium position, finishing third-fastest while Coma continued to lose time on the leader, trailing by over nine minutes as competitors entered the neutralized zone.
Barreda held the lead through the opening miles of the second portion of the day’s stage with Rodrigues and Despres following more than six minutes behind. Coma moved up to fourth position but was unable to cut the gap on Barreda. With Barreda in top-form, the battle for second-place intensified as Despres worked to close in on Rodrigues. Pain and Coma were within reach of a top-three position as well during the final miles of the stage, but in the end Despres held steady for third. Pain edged past Coma by 15 seconds to finish fourth while Przygonski ended the day in sixth. KTM’s Stefan Svitko placed seventh-fastest in Stage 10 trailed by Pizzolito in eighth and KTM’s Ivan Jakes in ninth.
The seventh-place finisher in Stage 9, Laia Sanz, started 16th overall at the beginning of Stage 10 and was fighting to improve her overall position during the day. A late-stage issue cost her valuable time however and she crossed the finish over two hours behind the leader. She now sits 19th overall.
The top-three overall remain unchanged through Stage 10, but after Esquerre’s exit from the competition Pain moves up to fourth. Rodrigues slides up to fifth and Despres jumps from eighth to sixth, earning a 48 second advantage on Przygonski in seventh.
Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 10: Iquique – Antofagasta Results
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 4:42:00
2. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 4:50:00
3. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 4:51:40
4. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 4:53:11
5. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 4:53:26
6. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 4:57:08
7. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 4:57:14
8. Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 4:58:58
9. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 5:00:17
10. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 5:01:17
Dakar Rally 2014 Standings after Stage 10
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 41:48:33
2. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 42:32:57
3. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 43:50:36
4. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 44:04:45
5. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 44:09:45
6. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 44:17:00
7. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 44:17:48
8. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 44:54:27
9. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 45:21:40
10. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 45:30:27