Despite injuring his right foot after 35 km of this 10th special stage, Joan Barreda confirmed his status as the major revelation of 2012 by picking up his first stage victory on the Dakar, ahead of Marc Coma and Cyril Despres. However, the Frenchman, who opened the road today, hangs on to his position as general standings leader, but only by 21 seconds ahead of the Catalan. In the car category, the day witnessed a third stage victory in 2012 for Nani Roma in front of the general standings leader, Stephane Peterhansel. The Catalan also took advantage of a mistake by Gordon and the mechanical problems suffered by Holowczyc to move into 2nd place in the general standings.
Joan Barreda Bort, the unquestionable revelation of the 33rd Dakar in the bike category, with 3 special stage finishes in the Top 5, displayed his full potential by winning his first special on the Dakar on the 10th stage. Not merely content with being quick, the young Spaniard also proved that he has a character to be reckoned with, by winning despite a severe injury to his right foot picked up after 35 km of the 377 on the day’s programme.
In the end, Barreda beat Marc Coma and Cyril Despres by 1’32” and 3’39” respectively. Still engaged in a battle for outright victory, the two rivals again returned blow for blow and, after winning yesterday and having the disadvantage of opening the road today, the Frenchman saw the Catalan triumph in terms of time, with Coma taking 2’07” back from his main rival. As a result, in the general standings, whilst Despres is still leader, he is now only 21” ahead of Coma.
Behind them, however, the situation is starting to become clearer for Helder Rodrigues. With the 4th best time of the day, he took advantage of a fall by his countryman Paulo Gonçalves to gain a little more comfort in 3rd place in the general standings, boasting a lead that now stands at 32’56” over Jordi Viladoms in 4th. The day’s main loser was Gonçalves, as today’s mishaps added a further 19’23” to his time, relegating him to 7th in the general standings.
Cracks may be starting to show in Gordon’s armour… The car race witnessed a fantastic duel between Robby Gordon, 1st to start this morning, and Stephane Peterhansel, the two main rivals for victory in Lima, with the role of opening the road exchanged several times.
However, at the end of the special, whilst he was out in front, the American came off the tracks and damaged the front left wing of his car, leaving the road open for “Peter” to go on and win. But instead, Nani Roma had the final word in the debate. Third to start, the constantly consistent Catalan again put in a perfect performance to win his 5th stage victory on the Dakar.
More significantly, in the general standings, Nani Roma not only took advantage of the mishap suffered by Gordon, who in the end lost 14’14” today, but also the mechanical problems encountered by Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc, whose power steering broke down after 50 km, to grab 2nd place in the general standings, 19’05” behind the unchanged leader Peterhansel, now 46” ahead of Gordon…
It should be noted that the car race officials’ committee today published the following press release: “On completion of the 9th stage (Antofagasta-Iquique), following observation of technical non-compliance on vehicle No. 303 (Robby Gordon) (article 1P and 3P of the technical rules), the Car Race Officials’ Committee has decided to disqualify No. 303 from the race. The driver has appealed against this decision. During appeals, decisions are placed on hold. As a result, vehicle No. 303 will continue the rally until the outcome of the appeal”.
In the quad category, the stages roll by with little change. Even if a Patronelli did not win today, an Argentinean was still victorious: Tomas Maffei achieved the best time of the day. He regained 12’56” on Marcos Patronelli in their fight for second place in the general standings, where he now only trails the winner in 2010 by 17’17”. The day’s special also clearly pointed to the trend emerging at the end of the rally because the first 5 riders on the stage were also the first 5 in the general standings. Fourth-placed in this group, Ignacio Casale is 4 hours and 15 minutes behind Alejandro Patronelli in the general standings and fifth placed Sergio Lafuente trails the leader by 6 hours and 36 minutes.
Lastly, in the truck race, this 10th special saw the first stage victory of Kazakh driver Artur Ardavichus on the Dakar, but more significantly the first for a Kamaz on this 2012 edition, 2’18” ahead of his Russian team-mate Andrey Karginov. However, to achieve this feat, the two Kamaz trucks benefitted from a navigation mistake in the first few kilometres by Gerard de Rooy who led his “lieutenant” Hans Stacey with him. This has not had a major effect on the general standings though, where De Rooy still leads comfortably, 59’27” ahead of Stacey.
However, the 2007 winner saw Ardavichus gain on him, with the Kazakh now lying only 4’50” behind the second placed driver.