Joan Barreda once again has taken control of the OiLibiya Rally of Morocco. The Spanish rider on the CRF450 RALLY marked the fastest time in a hazardous fifth stage, bringing Team HRC’s tally to four out of five stage wins.
The rally caravan journeyed on today with the rally’s longest stage, setting off from Zagora before winding its way into the mountainous Draa area, and finishing up some 512 kilometres later in Ourzazate, which featured 302 km of timed special. The route was in complete contrast to yesterday’s – the dunes being replaced by rock-filled narrow and treacherous track.
Joan Barreda was, for the fourth time, the fastest of the race, setting a storming pace that allowed him to close down on the front-runners. In doing so, Barreda moves up into fourth place in the overall standings with just tomorrow’s stage in Marrakech still left to run.
Paulo Gonçalves was unable to finish the special. He suffered a fall in the early in the special before arriving at the first waypoint, which resulted in an injured shoulder and ribs. ‘Speedy’ had been battling to retain his FIM World Cross-Country Rally title which he had clinched in the same race last year. After the fall, he managed to make it to the first Control Point and was transported to hospital in Ourzazate.
Joan Barreda:“It was a really dangerous day today. I set off really pushing hard, but I saw straight away that there was so much to lose, with loads of dangers, and knew that I had to stay calm, especially in the river crossings with so many rocks. I changed the chip and focused on getting through without making any mistakes or crashing. In the end I caught up with the other riders that I had up ahead, making it a good all round result.”
1 Joan Barreda 4:15’37 ESP HONDA Team HRC
2 Joan Pedrero +02’42 ESP SHERCO Sherco Rally Factory
3 Helder Rodrigues +03’07 PRT HONDA Team HRC
4 Ruben Faria +03’34 POR KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
5 Toby Price +03’49 AUS KTM KTM AUS Rally Factory
Provisional after Stage 5
1 Marc Coma 16:05’05 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
2 Sam Sunderland +09’58 GBR KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3 Helder Rodrigues +12’05 PRT HONDA Team HRC
4 Joan Barreda +15’31 ESP HONDA Team HRC
5 Ruben Faria +16’13 POR KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
Text/Photo: PR Team HRC