Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally was set to truly test all competitors and their machines with a long 534-kilometre timed special from Haradh to the temporary overnight bivouac at Shubaytah.
In the interest of safety and due to the deterioration of the weather, the stage was cut short at kilometre 345, with riders then travelling to the marathon bivouac untimed.
Joan Barreda took his first Dakar Rally stage win of 2020, heading an emphatic 1-2-3 results for Honda Rally Team on Stage 10.
Barreda, Brabec and Benavides finished the short 222-kilometre special stage after imposing a white-knuckle pace.
In spite of the speed, riders were careful to keep their bikes in a good condition, given that today is the first part of the marathon stage which will see the riders accommodated in a separate camp.
Once back at the Shubaytah bivouac, with no external mechanical assistance permitted, it will be left to the riders themselves to attend to any servicing that might be necessary, as rally rules stipulate that no tyres can be exchanged with other riders, but only mechanical elements, if need be.
The general standings continue to be dominated by Brabec, who increased the lead over his immediate rivals: more than 25 minutes over Pablo Quintanilla and 27 over his Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate Joan Barreda
Tomorrow sees the penultimate stage of this edition of the Dakar, the second leg of the marathon stage, with riders returning to the bivouac in Haradh. The opening kilometres will have a heavy dose of dunes before the stage finishes with sandy track and some solid ground.
Ricky Brabec: “We are in the bivouac of the marathon stage and we have only two stages left. Today it was very windy, and with the sand that was rising it was hard to see well, so they decided to cancel the last part. Well, we have to go every day, there is no other plan or strategy to complete. The goal is to get to the finish line every day with the motorcycle.”
Joan Barreda: “I think I rode a very good stage, although tomorrow I will have to start from the front and open the track in the dunes. Anyway, I’m satisfied with the pace that I’ve kept. I pushed hard to reach the frontrunners Price, Quintanilla which I managed to do at kilometre 130.
“Then we rode together as far as the refuelling where the organization then cancelled the rest of the special. The important thing now is that Ricky has the race under control and that Nacho, me and Kevin are fine. This is great for Honda!”