Dakar 2017, Stage 3: Barreda takes control, Price suffers

Joan Barreda took control of the Dakar Rally bikes competition on Wednesday, dominating the day's stage as overnight leader Toby Price slipped down the order.

Dakar 2017, Stage 3: Barreda takes control, Price suffers
#11 Monster Energy Honda Team: Joan Barreda
Joan Barreda
#11 Monster Energy Honda Team: Joan Barreda
#11 Monster Energy Honda Team: Joan Barreda
#1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Toby Price
#1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Toby Price
#1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Toby Price
#25 Himoinsa Racing Team KTM: Ivan Cervantes
#251 Yamaha: Ignacio Casale
Ignacio Casale

The two-part, 364km San Miguel de Tucuman to Jujuy stage provided the first real navigational challenge of the South American event after Tuesday's more straightforward test, and it was one that caught out reigning champion Price.

Opening the road after his win on Tuesday, the KTM rider dropped almost 19 minutes to Barreda at the first checkpoint, while his teammate Mathias Walkner - second on the road despite dropping to 11th overnight with a five-minute penalty - likewise suffered.

Honda rider Barreda, starting ninth on the road, took advantage of his rivals' struggles to establish a healthy lead of nine minutes over Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) at the end of the first timed section.

It was then KTM's third factory rider, Sam Sunderland, that emerged as the biggest threat to Barreda in the second part of the stage - but the Brit could only get within 13m29s of the Spaniard, who secured his 15th Dakar stage win and the lead of the standings.

Sunderland moves up to second in the general classification, 11m20s down on Barreda, ahead of the second best of the works Honda riders, Paulo Goncalves, who is a further 3m22s back.

Quintanilla, fourth on the stage behind an impressive Pela Renet (Husqvarna), is now in the same position overall, followed by Price, who has fallen over 17 minutes adrift of Barreda. 

Fourth overnight, Yamaha rider Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) has slipped down to 13th place, two positions behind Walkner.

Bikes standings after Stage 3:

Pos.RiderBikeTime/Gap
1  Joan Barreda Honda 7h35m30s
2  Sam Sunderland KTM +11m20s
3  Paulo Goncalves Honda +14m42s
4  Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna +15m56s
5  Toby Price KTM +17m19s
6  Adrian van Beveren Yamaha +23m00s
7  Gerard Farres KTM +23m00s 
8  Pela Renet Husqvarna +24m07s
9  Ricky Brabec Honda +24m13s
10  Stefan Svitko KTM +26m54s

Casale takes quads lead

In the quads section, Ignacio Casale moved to the head of the classification as overnight leader Pablo Copetti, winner of Tuesday's stage, dropped back.

Gaston Gonzalez, who started the day down in 12th, set the quickest time on Wednesday, beating Casale by some four minutes to move himself up to second overall, 4m37s down on the Chilean.

Copetti is now 18 minutes back in third, a mere 12 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Axel Dutrie.

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