Team HRC keeps options wide-open in Bolivia as a lightning Paulo Gonçalves claims 7th stage honours. Epic stage finish for Joan Barreda, who breaks handlebars in a fall and yet fights on to retain leadership.
Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves was victorious as the Dakar 2015 riders rolled into Uyuni, Bolivia with its parc fermé where the bikes will be isolated overnight. The rules governing the end of the first marathon stage specify that, where necessary, machines can only be repaired by the actual competitors themselves.
The mountainous zones that led from Chile to Bolivia amounted to a tough test for bikes and riders alike. The altitude of over 3600 metres for the 321 kilometres were taxing enough, but add in dire meteorological conditions which included rain and snow in Uyuni, and the result was dusty tracks turned into a veritable quagmire.
Gonçalves hit hard from the outset, keeping up an even pace through most of the race, and forcing a more ferocious final stretch, that saw the Team HRC ace finish the special stage with the best time. As yesterday’s winner, Hélder Rodrigues, was first away and open the road until shortly after CP1 where he was overtaken by Walkner. He was reached by team-mate Gonçalves too, and the two rode the rest of the stage side by side.
Joan Barreda got off to a fine start in the timed special, but as the stage played out, he took a tumble, and managed to break the handlebars into two. Nevertheless, with 120 kilometres still to go, the never-say-die Spaniard dug deep and limited the time conceded to arch-rival Coma to a mere six minutes. The Honda ace’s cushion allows him, however, to stay ahead in the general rankings.
It was a relatively laid-back and trouble-free stage for Jeremías Israel and Laia Sanz. Both posted top twenty finishes, preferring to not take any unnecessary risks in such adverse conditions.
Honda South America Rally Team got their second week of competition underway with a nice, steady pace. Daniel Gouet and Javier Pizzolito were once again the best of the bunch; scoring 23rd and 25th place finishes respectively. Jean Azevedo claimed 31st.
Follow our riders in the race here !!
STAGE 8 – Monday, 12th January
Uyuni (BOL) – Iquique (CHI)
Liaison: 24 km
Special stage: 784 km
The Salar: unconditionally
The Dakar bows to the laws of nature. Hence, the weather will decide which route will be taken to leave Bolivia. If it’s dry, the start could take place in the Salar de Uyuni, for a 100km route across a smooth road of white salt: full throttle and foot to the floor! The route then slows down abruptly, with the longest part of the special stage taking place on more technical mountain terrain. The day will end with more than 40km of dunes, concluding with the vertiginous descent to Iquique.
Results Stage 7
|1||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Team HRC||Honda||3:56'00|
|2||Coma Marc||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 00'14|
|3||Walkner Matthias||1||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 00'30|
|4||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||KTM||KTM||+ 1'32|
|5||Price Toby||3||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 1'49|
|6||Pedrero Joan||SPA||Pont Grup Yamaha JVO||Yamaha||+ 3'20|
|7||Duclos Alain||20||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+ 3'48|
|8||Rodrigues Helder||POR||Team HRC||Honda||+ 4'05|
|9||Svitko Stefan||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+ 5'09|
|10||Van Niekerk Riaan||RSA||Brother Link KTM Rally||KTM||+ 6'06|
|11||Viladoms Jordi||11||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 6'10|
|12||Barreda Joan||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||+ 6'13|
|13||Botturi Alessandro||ITA||Botturi Racing||Yamaha||+ 6'13|
|14||Faria Ruben||POR||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+ 6'41|
|15||Casteu David||9||FRA||Team Casteu||KTM||+ 8'13|
|16||Jakes Ivan||SLO||Microstep Industry Team||KTM||+ 9'24|
|17||Israel Jeremias||CHI||Team HRC||Honda||+ 10'02|
|18||Vogels Hans||NDL||Team Hans Vogels||KTM||+ 11'20|
|19||Planet Fabien||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+ 12'42|
|20||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Xavier de Soultrait||Yamaha||+ 13'09|
|21||Sanz Laia||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||+ 13'24|
|23||Gouet Daniel||CHI||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 15'13|
|25||Pizzolito Javier||ARG||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 16'57|
|31||Azevedo Jean||BRA||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 21'47|
Provisional Standings after Stage 7
|1||Barreda Joan||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||25:40'48|
|2||Coma Marc||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 6'28|
|3||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Team HRC||Honda||+ 10'59|
|4||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||KTM||KTM||+ 25'16|
|5||Price Toby||3||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+ 29'20|
|6||Rodrigues Helder||POR||Team HRC||Honda||+ 33'56|
|7||Faria Ruben||POR||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+ 40'23|
|8||Svitko Stefan||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+ 40'55|
|9||Duclos Alain||20||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+ 50'31|
|10||Casteu David||9||FRA||Team Casteu||KTM||+ 1:16'52|
|14||Sanz Laia||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||+ 1:30'20|
|16||Israel Jeremias||CHI||Team HRC||Honda||+ 1:44'37|
|18||Gouet Daniel||CHI||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 2:02'48|
|28||Azevedo Jean||BRA||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 3:27'10|
|39||Pizzolito Javier||ARG||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+ 5:14'35|
The greatest and toughest rally in the world, the Dakar’s history has been written in the heart of some of the world’s most stunning deserts and belongs to the world of the greatest sporting challenges of our time. Both a motor race and an orienteering challenge, the Dakar Rally pits… read more.
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