Honda won the second day of competition with Team HRC’s Sam Sunderland claiming victory in the first special stage of this year’s Dakar. Sunderland has had a frustrating time at previous Dakars, dropping out after three days of racing in 2012 and withdrawing a month before last year’s event due to fracturing both his wrists. Today, however, Sunderland made a grand entrance into the club of elite riders by brilliantly winning his first special stage of this year’s Dakar.
Having started well behind his teammate, Joan Barreda, the 23-year old Brit superbly overtook Michael Metge and Juan Pedrero on the first part of the route. However, it was in the portion of dunes towards the end of the special that the resident of Dubai showed his youthful but confident and masterful experience of sand.
Joan Barreda did not make the slightest mistake either, today. Having opened the way, the Spaniard was not overawed by his status as race leader, keeping his pursuers at a distance before reaching the finishing line alone. His performance did not bring him the second stage win he was aiming for, due to Sunderland’s superb feat, but it was by no means disappointing, since Marc Coma lost several minutes as well as the second place in the general standings, while Cyril Despres dropped to 8th place in the overall hierarchy, 8:23 behind Barreda. In fact, the only current threat that intensified for the general standings leader today was that of Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, who was the second quickest today, and the nearest challenger to the Spaniard, 2:03 behind.
Dakar 2014, Stage 2:
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) 3:42:10 hrs
2. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:00:39
3. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:02:00
4. Ruben Faria (PRT, KTM) +00:04:07
5. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:05:51
6. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:07:15
7. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +00:07:27
8. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:07:45
9. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:08:23
10. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:08:43
Overall Standings after Stage 2:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 06:09:41 hrs
2. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:02:03
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:02:33
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:05:47
5. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:07:00
6. Ruben Faria (PRT, KTM) +00:07:18
7. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:08:10
8. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:08:23
9. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:10:05
10. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +00:10:59
Tuesday is the first marathon stage. The total distance is 413 miles, 231 miles of them are against the clock. The finish is right at the bivouac. The riders will climb up to 14,100 feet in altitude.