The Spaniard from Castellón had managed to appear at the top positions of the general, now commanded by Van Beveren, but he was penalized with four minutes. Peterhansel finally makes his debut with Audi and Al-Attiyah is one day closer to his fourth Dakar
What could have been a memorable stage for one of the main – if not the only – Spanish options in the Dakar 2022 was noticeably deflated within minutes of finishing the stage. Joan Barreda had entered just over three minutes behind the winner of the day in Bisha, Toby Price, but as soon as he reached the goal he was informed of two penalties of two minutes each. From finishing the day at 6:47 am from the leader of the general classification to doing it at 10:47 am, there is a notable difference, and not only the psychological one of the 10-minute barrier.
It was a brilliant stage for the most spartan Barreda. The pain in his collarbone did not slow him down one iota, at least in the first half of the special he commanded. The trip between Wadi Ad Dawasir and Bisha was one of the fastest of this Dakar (practically full until the last kilometers) which was a relative rest for him. However, he did have a couple of navigation errors (not as serious as those of others) that made him give up a few minutes in the middle of the day, almost five, and that forced him to grit his teeth in the last kilometers. In the area of rocks and more tack, he gained margin until entering the finish line at 3:21 of the winner … but a marked excess speed in the link made him fall four minutes lower. In the end, 7:21 behind and those more than ten.
Although it is not the result he would have wanted in the end, Barreda cannot help but look with some satisfaction at what lies ahead and, above all, the volatility of the general. If the day started with Walkner as the leader and Sunderland practically out, it ended with Adrian Van Beveren regaining the lead ahead of the Briton (who is also his brother-in-law) by almost 6 exact minutes of advantage. Barreda has a lot to recover, but the rest also have a lot to lose. Those who seemed great candidates for the final title sank due to navigation problems (Sunderland was lost with 30 kilometers to go, Walkner in the middle of the stage before neutralization) and may be the factor that allows them to fight for glory to the Yamaha or not.
For the penultimate stage, according to Barreda, the only strategy is to endure. “It will be a long day too, so we’ll try to do my best. Certainly they come faster drivers behind. These days are difficult and you have to try to save and not waste too much time, “he said.
Peterhansel takes it out and Quintero makes history
We had to wait until the tenth day for the greatest legend in the history of the Dakar, Stephane Peterhansel (fourteen winches he has under his belt) to achieve his first stage victory. On a day in which the top speed of the Audi (they even cut the engine) was key, ‘Monsieur Dakar’ achieved his 49th partial victory, which is one of the absolute record of the legendary Ari Vatanen. The Frenchman, totally ruled out for the victory, surpassed Carlos Sainz by just over two minutes, thus confirming that the reaction of the team with the four rings has come late.
The Audi lead over the rest and the absence of a complex sailing day for the cars prevented Loeb and Al-Attiyah from distancing themselves. The strategy of the Qatari is relatively easy for the days that remain: not to detach from the Hunter of the nonacampion of the world of rallies. Loeb, 5th at 4:25 from Peterhansel at the finish line, could only scratch the leader of the general classification for a little less than a minute and a half, not even with the night penalty he received the night before (they gave him 5 minutes for leaving without the belt correctly place of a tire change) gives enough to think that his fourth Dakar is in danger.
It was a historic day from the category of light prototypes. Young Seth Quintero won his tenth stage in this edition of the raid (seventh straight), which is the second rider in history to score 10 victories in the same Dakar, equaling the record of Pierre Lartigue in 1994. With two remaining stages , the Californian could still beat that mark. The second place went to his teammate, the Spanish Cristina Gutierrez, who came to 2:20. Both are out of contention for overall victory, although they remain in the race. Except surprise, the winner in this category will be Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez.