Joan Barreda and Michael Metge have managed to clinch first and second spot in a highly-treacherous China Grand Rally seventh stage. A thick layer of dust masked hidden dangers in the tracks carved out on a previous stage.
Once again, Team HRC proved that for speed, they are unmatchable in the China Grand Rally. Joan Barreda remains unbeaten so far after seven stages and with just two left to run looks a safe bet for overall victory. Today’s stage, however, was an onerous task as competitors were faced with heavy fesh-fesh covering much of the route, hiding innumerable dangers. The route back-tracked over long swathes of track used in the previous stage. The dense dust produced by the vehicles concealed rocks and other hazards which posed a constant threat as the riders retraced their paths – although this time in the opposite direction. A day for maximum caution.
Hot on the heels of Joan Barreda was teammate Michael Metge, who by now had resolved his brake issues and was able to complete the special stage at full pace. The Frenchman overtook Armand Monleón, who set off ahead and clawed back 2’13” although Metge continues to hold third place.
The eighth stage to be held tomorrow, Sunday, will arrive in Ling Wu after 277.28 kilometres of special stage plus two long 300 kilometre liaison sections.
Today was a good stage as we continued at the same fast pace of the previous days. I’m very happy. The stage covered the same track as a couple of days ago, put this time in the opposite direction. There wasn’t a lot of navigation but we had to be really careful as there were a lot of dangers once the big vehicles had gone through. There was a lot of fesh-fesh and it was necessary to choose the best line to take to be able to pass. I’m pleased to have kept up the concentration.
Today’s special stage went very well. It was a short one, but interesting nonetheless, as it retraced the route of the other day but in the opposite direction. There were a lot of tracks to follow which meant that it was necessary to navigate well and not take any mistaken routes. There were a few times that you would go off the track and then get back on it without even noticing. The track was really carved up and it was a difficult, hard ride. We had to be really careful with the new dangers that the cars had created when they passed through. But I’m very happy as the bike has been running really well and I’ve had a really good time.
Private: Roberto Boasso
I’m happy. The special today was a very fast one and everything went really well. The riders didn’t have any problems and the bikes responded perfectly. We are on the right path and the team is working hard to prepare for everything that we have ahead of us. There are only two stages left, but let’s not forget that are will be many dangers ahead before we finally get to cross the finish line on the final day.