Dakar Rally 2022
Monster Energy Honda Team one-two for Barreda and Quintanilla on the Dakar’s longest special
Joan Barreda pushed his Honda CRF450 RALLY to the limit over the 465 kilometres of today’s special – the longest of the Dakar Rally – to finish with the day’s top time at the finish in Riyadh. Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla put the icing on the cake for Monster Energy Honda Team by clinching the runner-up spot.
79% dirt, 12% dunes, 7% sand and 2% dried-out lake were on the menu for the longest stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally, with a 465-kilometre special and a total trek of 707 kilometres. A trial by fire for all those involved. There was a mix of different terrain types to be negotiated and some navigation too. All in all, a high-paced affair that would begin to mark out the riders who will end up in possible contention for the final Dakar prize.
The starting order for this fourth day set the stage for a promising race, particularly for Joan Barreda who came out guns blazing, firmly intent on victory, but also on improving his position in the general standings. With flawless riding and navigational prowess, the Spanish rider reached the finish-line in Riyadh the clear winner and currently holds seventh position, just over thirteen minutes shy of the overall leader. Tomorrow, Barreda will open the track with his rivals in hot pursuit. Joan was penalised one minute for exceeding the speed limit in a radar zone.
Pablo Quintanilla also performed well. An advantageous starting position also helped him follow the trail of his team-mate. The Chilean turned out a very steady stage, consistently among the top three, climbing up one position in the order in the latter half of the day. Quinta’ improves on his position in the table and now lies sixth, eleven minutes and thirteen seconds behind the race leader.
Ricky Brabec, who set off from sixth this morning in Al Qaisumah, had a fairly good day, posting tenth, but Brabec also received a two-minute penalty for speeding in a controlled area. While, José Ignacio Cornejo finished twelfth, looking more at ease on the bike as the days go by, in spite of a minor navigation mistake earlier in the special.
Stage 5: 214 kilometres of liaison sections, 346 kilometres of special stage, making a total of 560 kilometres on the day. Starting and finishing at the bivouac in Riyadh, competitors will face a new loop on this Dakar, although it won’t be the last one. The changes of terrain from dirt to stone-littered tracks will put a strain on the physiques of even the toughest riders in the opening half of the special. If that were not enough, then 50 kilometres of dunes will divide the wheat from the chaff.