The Sardegna Rally Race, that will take place in the Italian island of Sardinia this upcoming weekend, will be the fourth rally of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in which Joan Barreda will arrive as the current leader of the championship. Paolo Goncalves and Helder Rodrigues will also take part in this round.
The Team HRC will defend the title in Sardinia. Joan Barreda, Paolo Gonçalves and Hélder Rodrigues are already in place and eager to begin racing on the island once the Saturday morning scrutineering have been finalized. The first of a five stage rallies will begin this Sunday and it will be unlike any other in the World Championship calendar.
‘Bang Bang’ Barreda is the current leader of the World Championship after his last win during the second round of the championship in Qatar. He will fight to keep the position in the series.
– Joan, what have you been doing since Sealine Qatar rally ended? I have been training, I haven’t really taken anytime off. I have been working on preparing myself physically and have intensified my training with the bike. I have recently participated in the French Enduro race to try and adapt myself better to the bike that I will be using in Sardinia.
– You arrive to this fourth Rally of the World Championship as the leader, how does it feel? Its great to arrive to Sardinia as leader! Even though it is not a Rally that I have much experience on, one in which you don’t have the same feel as you normally do in the desert; it will be a rally in which I will probably will not be feeling very comfortable in. I haven’t really prepared myself for the specific navigational characteristics that it has. We will have to take it one day at a time and see how the race goes.
– This Rally requires a very particular kind of navigation. Do you think it is more complicated? It is not a matter of requiring more navigation; it Is just that it is very different. In Qatar for example, it required a lot of navigation. This time its not the same case, we do not use CAP or GPS and the trip is for 10 metres. It Is very different. It is a rather particular race and we will have to play it by ear and see how things go on a day-to-day basis. There are areas in which the woodland is very thick, with very high grass where we have to change direction constantly and that is why it is vey important to remain concentrated on following the roadbook. In the desert, you rely more on intuition but here we will have to be very precise.
– Did you have to “park” the CRF450 in order to race in Sardinia? How does this affect you? Yes, but I have to say that the bike is different for this rally. The base is the as the enduro bike, the CRF450R with a slight modification for this particular rallies; we will carry two fuel tanks with a larger capacity compared to the one the enduro bike usually has. We will have to adapt to the behavior of the bike, since it is lighter than your usual rally bike.
– Which kind of navigation do you prefer? This kind of navigation is very demanding but I believe that this Rally follows a different concept. I prefer to navigate at high speeds, at in-between 120 – 130 km/h, you feel more the adrenaline.