Dakar 2016 - Stage 3

Rain Shortens The Day

Joan Barreda of Team HRC Rally, sits in 3rd overallCourtesy of Team HRC Rally

Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally was shortened by 124 KM (77 miles) to a 200 KM (124 mile) day due to the continuing rain issues. With only two scored days of racing the top five riders are within 60 seconds of one another. But it was Argentinian Kevin Benavidas who won the stage, and on his homeland turf. Benavidas now sits second overall, just 34 seconds back.

Joan Barreda, sits in third, just 46 seconds back after incurring a one minute time penalty in today’s Stage 3. It’s worth noting, though, that overall leader, Slovakian racer Stefan Svitko, has also incurred a one minute penalty during the racing.

The previous overall leader, due to his Stage 2 win yesterday, Australian Toby Price, dropped to ninth overall and now sits nearly five minutes behind the leader. It’s still early to tell, but we will see how the weather plays out this year and how big of a factor it becomes by the end of the rally.

For the five Americans competing this year, Ricky Brabec dropped one spot, from 21st to 22nd (he’s just under 15 minutes behind the leader). Ian Blythe currently sits in 51st (he was 47th yesterday), and Alexander Smith moved up from 76th position to 64th. Scott Bright, who’s basically racing himself back from a just-healed broken left wrist, also moved up, from 85th to 74th, and CR Gittere also advanced, going from 110th to 100th.

Tomorrow marks day one of a two-day marathon stage, where the riders will not bring their bikes back to their teams for any needed repairs – only the riders themselves will be able to do any work on the bike, then the bike will be impounded overnight.