Joan Barreda has consolidated his lead of the Merzouga Rally with a triumph in the third stage, the first leg of the two-day marathon stage.
Pablo Quintanilla secured a solid runner-up result while Kevin Benavides, yesterday‰Ûªs winner, was third on the day, keeping Monster Energy Honda Team in the top two leader board positions.
Stage three of the Merzouga Rally marks the first half of the event‰Ûªs marathon stage. Staying overnight in a temporary bivouac, riders receive no outside assistance to themselves or their bikes. It is imperative on the stage for competitors to conserve tyres and machinery where even a minor problem could mean the end to their rally.
Joan Barreda made up time after starting out in sixth place and thus extends his lead in the overall standings. The Spaniard now sports an advantage of almost thirteen minutes over his Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate in second overall spot.
"I started out in sixth and I took advantage of the tracks ahead," Barreda explained. "The second part was a lot tougher with a lot more rocks and I had a small fall but nothing significant and I was able to continue. It‰Ûªs really important that we have a solid day tomorrow after all the work that we have done up until now. I‰Ûªm having a perfect rally without making any mistakes, but things are still very tight and it‰Ûªs wide open."