Rallye

Matthias Walkner Breaks Through For Stage Win, Joan Barreda Continues To Lead 2015 Dakar

Toby Price fourth on Stage

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Being a debutant does not necessarily mean being slow, as KTM Matthias Walkner proved on stage three of the 2015 Dakar Rally, giving a fine demonstration of speed to pick up his first stage victory.

After finishing eighth on his very first special on the Dakar, then 6th on the longest special of this year's edition between Villa Carlos Paz and San Juan, Matthias Walkner decided to take the quickest route to his first stage victory on the Dakar. The Austrian, a three times MX1-MX3 world champion was in the leading trio at CP2 before going into overdrive, leaving the discipline's specialists in his wake and writing the first entry on his roll of honour for the King of all rallies at the finish in Chilecito.

This performance puts him definitively among the riders to keep an eye on, whilst Marc Coma is being closely watched by all his rivals. After losing more than ten minutes the previous day, the title holder staged a comeback, finishing only 40 seconds behind Walkner.
Race leader Joan Barreda raced to a steady 3rd place on day three. - Credit: Honda
More importantly, he gained one minute back on Joan Barreda who did not tempt fate and instead made sure of a solid third place to consolidate his leadership in the general standings.

‰ÛÏToday was easier than yesterday, but anyway, it was really dangerous because we were on river beds and a lot of stones all day and so many broken up tracks. So that was sometimes dangerous and you always need to take care," said Barreda who continues to lead this years event by five and a half minutes ahead of Honda team-mate Paulo Goncalves.

"I felt really good all day opening the track, it was a good feeling. I'm really happy, it's one day more done. Now we go to Chile and there will be different stages and a different feeling so we will see there.

"The advantage is really small, it's nothing different. We need to remain focused on our planning, so nothing is different, we'll continue like this," he added.
Toby Price continues to impress in his first ever Dakar finishing 4th on stage overnight and sitting 6th overall - Credit: RallyZone Bauer/Barni
Australian Toby Price finished fourth on the stage, to confirm the rookies' good form, ahead of Barreda's nearest rival in the general standings, Paulo Goncalves. Despite finishing 4th on stage Price moved back from 5th to 6th in the outright standings with Marc Coma leapfrogging the Aussie.

‰ÛÏThe first part of the stage was fast and open and the navigation was easy." Price reflected at the conclusion of day three. "If all the Dakar was like this I wouldn‰Ûªt have any dramas but I‰Ûªm still struggling a bit with the road book definitions.

"At this stage I definitely couldn‰Ûªt lead a stage but hopefully by the end of next week we might be able to do that. Once we get into the desert its game on and a lot of hard work. My pace might drop off a bit but hopefully by the end of next week we can pick it up again.‰Û

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