Joan Barreda set a ferocious pace over the 315-kilometre third special stage of the 2021 Andalucía Rally to take the stage win and claim the overall lead
After the stage two special stage was shortened, stage three’s 298-kilometre timed section – out of a total of 430 km – became the longest of the Andalucía Rally. Once again the route passed through the plains of the province of Seville, full of vast fields of wheat waiting to be harvested. Part of the route played out over tracks that had already been used the previous day, with the passage of vehicles having churned up the terrain, leaving behind some hazardous hidden rocks. There were also some narrow, winding stretches and even some water and mud to be tackled in the latter part of the special.
Joan Barreda once again proved to be the fastest rider on the track, taking top spot, as well as claiming the head of the overall standings. Yesterday, Barreda had been lumbered with a penalty, dropping him to third place on the day and second in the general rankings. Today, the rider came out guns blazing in a bid to make up the lost time and snatch the stage victory. Barreda now holds a 2’52-minute advantage at the top of the general standings over the nearest second-placed rival.
“It was a good stage,” Barreda said. “We have gone through a faster area than on the previous days, more open, where I have felt more comfortable than on the enduro-style mountain tracks. I tried to set a good pace, pushing hard. I had Quintanilla in front of me and I was able to pass him. Then I had Santolino ahead, but I was able to gain a few seconds on him that will help in the rally classification. In the end there was a bit of confusion, or so it seemed. It is difficult for the organization to coordinate the entire race in the same area and there may have been some misunderstandings with the roadbook, but I tried to keep a cool head and I think it all went well. I’ll have to keep pushing right through until the very last kilometre.”
Joaquim Rodrigues had a great start to the day leading the rally in the opening 100 kms and crossing the finish line in the second place.
“It was a really fast stage today, I was able to get a good rhythm from the beginning and was fighting for 1st position, so I am really happy with the result,” Rodrigues said. “Of course, the bike is performing really well and is helping me get these results. Tomorrow is the last day, so we will try to get the best possible result for the team.”
Lorenzo Santolino rounded out the top three on the stage coming in just over 4 minutes behind Barreda and dropped to second in the overall standings with an almost 3 minute deficit to Barreda.
The final day of the Andalucía Rally will take place tomorrow, Sunday. Riders can look forward to a total of 296 kilometres, with only 185 against the clock, setting off from Coripe and finishing in Villamartín.
Provisional Stage 3 Rankings:
- Joan Barreda Bort, Monster Energy Honda Team, 02h 54m 51s
- Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +02m 56s
- Lorenzo Santolino, Sherco Factory Rally Team, +04m 35s
- Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +06m 23s
- Franco Caimi, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +09m 35s
Provisional Overall Rankings after Stage 3:
- Joan Barreda Bort, Monster Energy Honda Team, 08h 37m 26s
- Lorenzo Santolino, Sherco Factory Rally Team, +2m 52s
- Pablo Quintanilla, Monster Energy Honda Team, +10m 40s
- Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +11m 11s
- Franco Caimi, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +12m 16s