Dakar Monster Energy Honda: Rest day

Michael Metge, Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec

The participants of the Dakar Rally 2017 were spared another early-rise this morning and got to put their feet up in La Paz, Bolivia.

Riders finally get a well-deserved rest day in La Paz, Bolivia and the chance to recharge the batteries as well as making preparations for the decisive coming week at the Dakar. There were sessions with the physiotherapist too as the competitors look to keep their bodies in tiptop shape. Some just took the chance to hang out and relax.

The rest of the crew, meanwhile, have spent the day meticulously going over preparations as the team embarks on the final crucial week.

The mechanics were today able to check over the Honda CRF450 RALLY with greater calm than usual. The machine has shown great resilience and performance over the first week of competition. The team and bike now look poised to attack over the next few stages which kick off with the marathon stage tomorrow. As usual, riders will not be allowed to receive any external mechanical assistance from the close of tomorrow’s stage in Uyuni to the following day.
Tomorrow’ stage – Monday, January 9
Stage 7 – La Paz –- Uyuni
Selective sector 322 km – Total 622 km
A marathon before the resumption
The rally begins its return trip by heading towards what has become one of its regular stomping grounds since 2014. The Uyuni casern, which is well known to the raiders, will once again be transformed into a bivouac for a day. For this first part of the marathon stage, which will include very long sections of sandy tracks, the service park will be open to all vehicles, except for those entered in the assistance category.
Joan Barreda #11 – Overall: 12th, +01:12:39
« The goal continues to be the same one, but obviously we’ve got more difficulties to contend with than four days ago. We have to study the stages well and know where and when we can attack. Some people are saying that Bolivia is still a mystery and we won’t know what is happening until the last minute. We hope to be able to put in a lot of mileage especially where there is a lot of navigation. After, in the final part of the race in Chilecito and San Juan we will try and make the most of things and try and close the gap. The route was designed to be hard and that has brought a higher level of navigation. It has been an interesting Dakar so far from that point of view. »

Paulo Goncalves #17 – Overall: 10th, +01:08:21
We have to weigh up the first week with some very positive points in our favour: the way we have worked on the bikes has been perfect. Of course there were some details that failed and that makes it tough for the team not being in the lead. But we have to go on fighting. We have a very hard week ahead of us and we have to put any errors that the team has made behind us. We are very close, united and we are still really strong. We will keep working with the same intensity to try and get ahead.

Ricky Brabec #9 – Overall: 22nd, 01:49:27
« Compared to last year, it’s more difficult for sure, especially with the navigation. It’s tough to find the waypoints. The rain is really hard too. It’s eating away at the course and making it more dangerous for us. It’s a tough game to play. There’s two week of it. The first week was ok. We made it through and we are all here safe. We’ll have to push hard for the second week. »
Michael Metge #15 – Overall: 21st, +01:49’25
« The first week started really well. Things were going more or less right. We have to be pleased with the bike, which hasn’t given the slightest problem. All the riders were well placed in the standings after each special until we were given the sanction. It’s bad luck but we are still in with a chance of victory and I hope that we can really give it everything in the second week, play all our cards, make the competitors feel the pressure and finish above them. »
Roberto Boasso – Team Manager
« We have had a good first week which had a really great start with Barreda and the other guys occupying the top places in the general standings. After, we had a slight misunderstanding with the stage five refuelling which caused us a delay, but we have to get on with it and accept the error. All the riders are in excellent shape and the spirit among the team is as united as it was before. I’m very proud because we have a great team of professionals. We will keep fighting until the end taking it day by day. It’s all wide open until we arrive in Buenos Aires. »

Rider Standings – Provisional Standings after Rest Day
1. Sunderland Sam (GBR) – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team, 15:22’05
2. Quintanilla Pablo (CHI) – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, +12’00
3. Van Beveren Adrien (FRA) – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team, +16’07
4. Farres Gerard (SPA) – Himoinsa Team, +20’57
5. Walkner Matthias (AUT) – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team, +29:01
6. de Soultrait Xavier (FRA) – Viltais Racing Team HFP, +36’06
7. Svitko Stefan (SLO) – Slovnaft Team, +48’43
8. Renet Pierre-Alexandre (FRA) – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, +54’45
9. Duplessis Mart