Team HRC’s Joan Barreda was the quickest in the second stage of the China Grand Rally, although the day was not without setbacks. The Spaniard further bolsters his position at the top of the leaderboard.
Joan Barreda once again proved to be the main protagonist at the China Grand Rally with a 3:40’59 time over the 241.79 kilometre special stage. The competitors have now moved on to the bivouac in Wulate Houqi.
The day turned out to be a positive one for Barreda, who increases the deficit over his second place adversary, although there were hitches on the way. Some glitches on the instrument panel saw Barreda forced to swap his TRIP navigational device for that of teammate Michael Metge’s.
Metge, now without his TRIP, was forced to embark on the special stage equipped with just the GPS and roadbook. Barely had the special began when the GPS stopped working. Nevertheless, Metge followed the tracks left by this teammate up ahead, but suffered a mishap on one of the dunes and damaged the front wheel of the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The Frenchman was able to battle on to the refuelling but was so focused on repairing the damaged wheel that he failed to completely refuel the bike. The machine subsequently ran out of fuel a few kilometres short of the finish. The rider finally made it back to base, but with a lengthy delay. Metge now lies in third place overall.
Joan Barreda – stage: 1st – Provisional: 1st : « It was a very nice stage today with the first part over rocks, rivers, dunes and fast track. Every type of terrain. We had an issue with the GPS with a new system that got blocked. We had to navigate in a more difficult way but we were able to get ahead at a good pace and make it back without any major problems. »
Michael Metge – stage: 3rd – Provisional: 3rd : « It was a super difficult day. Joan had a problem with his TRIP so I swapped it for mine and I had to navigate with the GPS, but at kilometre 18 that stopped working too. I didn’t have any navigation equipment that I could rely on so I had to follow Joan’s trail. In the dunes I was so focused on following his tracks that I jumped over a dune and blocked the front wheel. I was able to get through to the refuelling but I got so absorbed in the wheel repairs that I didn’t check that all the tanks had been filled. I didn’t make it all the way back and I had to get given some more fuel to make it to the end of the special. It is a pity because it was a very nice stage and I was having a good time out there in spite of not being able to navigate. »
Roberto Boasso – Team Manager: « The stage went well even with Mika’s fuel problems which meant that he lost a bit of time. Joan, as usual, had a really good special. The stage was a tough one with a lot of navigation. The riders got back in one piece and we will keep on working on the project, which is to get to the main objective in the best condition possible. »
Results Stage 2
1. Barreda Joan (SPA) – Team HRC, 3:40’59
2. Monleon Armand (SPA) – KTM Warsaw Rally Team, +0’49
3. Metge Michael (FRA) – Team HRC, +57’27…
Provisional Standings after Stage 2
1. Barreda Joan (SPA) – Team HRC, 5:03’54
2. Monleon Armand (SPA) – KTM Warsaw Rally Team, +11’51
3. Metge Michael (FRA) – Team HRC, +58’16…