Team HRC rider Joan Barreda finished the sixth stage with the quickest time to take the stage win in the China Grand Rally. This marks the fifth triumph for the Honda CRF450 after the cancellation of yesterday’s stage.
The Spanish rider remains well on course for an overall victory in his first participation in the Chinese event. Today saw a somewhat different stage, with the race being fought out on track, rather the than the dunes of recent stages. The 179 kilometre special was, however, booby-trapped with plenty of dangerous hazards as the route encountered sudden bends, huge rocks and drops. Barreda, nevertheless, commanded from start to finish and leaves his adversaries trailing yet further in the overall standings.
French teammate Michael Metge ran into some difficulties between Zhangye and LingWu during the final two-thirds of the 465.36 kilometre timed stage. Mika lost the use of the back brake which had been hit by a rock. After having regained momentum in the two previous stages, the Team HRC man dropped four minutes to the second place rival.
Tomorrow, the seventh stage of the China Grand Rally will be held between Zhangye and LingWu, with a total of 465.36 kilometres; 156 of which will be against the clock.
Joan Barreda – Stage: 1st – 1:47’23 – Overall: 1st – 10:39’27 : « Today was a great day and was a very different stage from the rest with a lot of dangers and many holes. Most of it was on track and there were no dunes. I had to stay really focused with so many dangers around. The bike was running really well and we are clocking up the kilometres. Over the final days it will be very important to keep up the concentration without making any mistakes and be able to keep up the pace that we have had all week. »
Michael Metge – Stage: 3rd – +13’35 – Overall: 3rd – +1:36’39 : « Today was a complicated one for me today. I started out with a good pace but in a tricky area about kilometre 60 I had a problem with the brakes. It was a dangerous area and I had to slow things down a bit. I had a few difficulties keeping the bike under control in some of the timed section. I really wanted to have a good special to pull back a bit of time, but in the end it was the other way around. That stuff happens with mechanical things… »
Roberto Boasso – Team Manager : « After the cancellation of yesterday’s stage today, we were back in action with a complicated stage for the riders – not just for the navigation – but for the sheer physical effort. Plus, they had to be really careful with the roadbook as there were many dangers. It has been a good day. The bikes are performing perfectly and without any problems in spite of the pace that the riders are going at. »