With today’s triumph, Joan Barreda now holds a tally of 28 Dakar Rally stage wins. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider is the third most successful motorcycle rider in the rally’s history after Peterhansel and Despres (33). The general standings underwent a slight reshuffle today, with Pablo Quintanilla now in seventh place.
This second stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally brought about some changes as had earlier been predicted. Downpours over the last few days in the northern part of Saudi Arabia caused some flooding, such as the wash-out at the Al Artawiyah bivouac for the Marathon stage. As a consequence, the organisers yesterday decided to switch the stage 2 destination to the camp set up at Al Qaisumah. The 338.43-kilometre special stage, however, remained intact, but with the riders’ liaison section to the new bivouac lengthened for a total 453-kilometre trek. Dunes were the main feature of the day: a quarter of the timed special stage was made up of various ridges of dunes.
Joan Barreda expressed his satisfaction with the day’s proceedings on reaching Al Qaisumah. The Spaniard, who started from a favourable position to attack, let no-one stand between him and his goal, completing the special with a surplus of five-and-a-half minutes over the stage’s nearest second best rider. José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo was clearly ill at ease on terrain not suited to his style. Elsewhere, American Ricky Brabec – after a dismal stage yesterday where he dropped a lot of time – came out with the intention of whittling down the gap and will hope to improve further over the forthcoming stages.
Pablo Quintanilla was the second RallyGP rider to take the start today. From the chilly bivouac of Ha’il, and after a 183-kilometre liaison section, the Chilean rider tried to keep a close tab on the race leader who had started ahead of him. Quintanilla pressed hard, going on to open the track, but was unable to shake off Sanders. In the end, the handicap of having opened the track had taken its toll with the Chilean making a slight error and losing time but nevertheless managed to limit the damage. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider currently lies in seventh, 12-and-a-half minutes adrift of the leader.
Stage 3 has also been affected due to the change of today’s bivouac. Race organisers yesterday decided to cancel the first sector of the special, so riders will not have to complete the 368-kilometre timed stage. The first riders are expected to arrive back in Al Qaisumah at approximately 13:00.
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