Joan Barreda back on top in OiLibya Morocco Rally
Honda rider Joan Barreda has taken back the lead in the OiLibya Rally from Sam Sunderland. His team mate Paulo Goncalves won stage 3 with Barreda following at 1'18. Sunderland only finished fifth losing 6'30 to Barreda. Carlos Sainz took his second stage win while Gerard de Rooy took his first in the truck race.
The battle for first is really on in the bike category in the OiLibya Morocco Rally. Today it was yesterday's and overall leader Sam Sunderland who had to open the tracks. Both Honda riders Paulo Goncalves and Joan Barreda, as well as Sunderland's KTM team mates Quintanilla and Walkner caught up with Sunderland bit by bit during the stage. All five finished together after 273 kilomters full of challenging dunes.
Barreda now leads Sunderland overall by 3'57. Matthias Walkner is plced third at 5'22.
Carlos Sainz extended his overall lead over Nasser Al-Attiyah by winning another stage after the first win yesterday with the new Peugeot 2008 DKR. With two more stages to go he has build up a 5'20 buffer to the Qatari in his Mini, who finish second today. WRC star Mikko Hirvonen came in third today and seems to have found the rally-raid rythm.
Less fortunate today was Sébastien Loeb. He rolled in he dunes fairly early in the stage and lost lots of time waiting to be pulled back up again. Also, Dutch Mini driver Erik van Loon lost two hours with a mechanical problem.
Ales Loprais won the second stage in a row. His Iveco was 1'48 quicker than the Renault of Martin van den Brink. However, the Dutchman reclaimed the overall lead with a small 1'25 margin on the Czech. Gerard de Rooy lost time again due to punctures, as did his team mate Van Genugten and even Loprais had to stop to change a wheel.
The last two days will be an interesting battle with four De Rooy-Iveco's charging Van den Brink for the victory in the OiLibya Marocco Rally.