A highly productive day for Team HRC riders at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, with Joan Barreda flying to victory in the third special just ahead of team-mate and reigning world champion Paulo Gonçalves.
It was a terrific win for Joan Barreda in the third stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and a worthy second place for Paulo Gonçalves, who moves in on the front-runners. The race goes into the final days with everything left hanging in the air.
It was a very positive day for the riders of Team HRC in the third stage that took place between Moreeb and the luxurious bivouac in Qasr Al Sarab. After the 256.4 km special over the dunes of the great erg of Moreeb in the country’s south, Joan Barreda was able to floor his Honda CRF450 RALLY to reach Paulo Gonçalves and accompany him to the finish-line. In doing so, the Portugese rider closes in on the two race leaders ahead in the overall standings. Paulo now sits just 52 seconds behind the leader Sam Sunderland.
Hélder Rodrigues finished the stage comfortably without taking any excessive risks in what had proved to be a tricky stage, where high speed corresponded to high danger. Hélder was fifth some 8’51” behind Barreda.
This marks Team HRC’s first double with the new line-up so far in the 2014 season. In the last edition of the Rally Dakar, Joan Barreda and Hélder Rodrigues, again on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, had finished first and second in the tenth stage. (Iquique-Antofagasta).
Tomorrow’s stage will have a new twist: the riders will set off in groups of fifteen in a motocross-style start.