Stage eight of the Dakar 2012 saw mixed results for the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain. Joan Barreda was fighting for another podium finish before ending the day in fourth. Paulo Goncalves meanwhile had a difficult stage. Lying fourth overall in the morning, the Portuguese lost one place. He was finally content to complete today’s race at all. This stage totaled 449 miles from Copiapo to Antofagasta in Chile with a 296-mile special test.
The stage was fast and dangerous, often full throttle and sometimes really tricky. Former race leader Cyril Despres and Goncalves became victims of a mudhole that was not marked in the roadbook and both got stuck. Goncalves generously helped Despres out of the mess and the Frenchman promptly sped away. Goncalves was then assisted by the race director.
The incident wasted a lot of time, which was handed back to Goncalves afterwards. But more bad luck occurred when he hit a stone less than a mile from the finish line. Goncalves had to push his bike to the finish with a damaged drivetrain. Quite lucky under the circumstances, he “only” lost 24 minutes on Marc Coma, who won the stage. Goncalves dropped back to fifth overall. But on a day when it was important to finish, he did just that.
Joan Barreda avoided the mudhole and was going for a top three result. He just missed out, as Ruben Faria and Helder Rodrigues got the better end. Barreda lost valuable time and a precious podium riding in the dust of Stefan Svitko and Juan Pedrero. Good: the Spaniard rode smart and didn’t take too many risks.
Zé Hélio also suffered at the mudhole and lost almost one hour. Discussions are going on whether to credit him lost time. Jose Manuel Pellicer keeps improving. He’s sitting right behind his teammates in 25th.
Stage 9 brings the longest special of the rally. Canyons, loose sand and 345 miles of a special test await the riders. The stage ends with a gorgeous descent to the Pacific Ocean at Iquique, Chile.
Dakar 2012, Stage 8 Results:
1. Marc Coma (SPA) KTM, 5:03:52 hrs
2. Ruben Faria (POR) KTM, 7:00 min behind
3. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, 7:10
4. Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 8:44
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK) KTM, 9:09
16. Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 24:26
23. Jose Manuel Pellicer (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 34:34
37. Zé Hélio (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 56:49
Dakar 2012, Overall standings:
1. Coma, 23:24:18 hrs
2. Cyril Despres (FRA) KTM, 1:26 behind
3. Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, 49:01
4. David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha, 1:09:52
5. Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 1:12:11
23. Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 3:26:04
24. Zé Hélio (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 3:27:51
25. Jose Manuel Pellicer (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 3:53:19