Spanish rider Joan Barreda took control of the bike category at the 2017 Dakar Rally on Wednesday as he won Stage 3 and captured the overall lead from defending champion Toby Price in Argentina.
The experienced Dakar racer beat Great Britain's Sam Sunderland into second place. Pierre-Alexandre Renet grabbed third spot to complete the top finishers.
Veteran rally driver Stephane Peterhansel claimed the win in the car category, climbing to third in the general classifications.
Gaston Gonzalez stayed ahead of the field to win the third stage of the quad class. Leandro Torres was the winner in the UTV section, as Eduard Nikolaev swept to victory in the trucks section.
The competition's official Twitter account announced the latest standings in the main events:
Here's what the schedule looks like for the rest of the rally:
|Dakar Rally 2017: Schedule|
|Stage||Date||Bike/Quad Distance (KM)||Car/UTV Distance (KM)||Truck Distance (KM)|
|4||Thursday, Jan. 5||416||416||521|
|5||Friday, Jan. 6||692||692||683|
|6||Saturday, Jan. 7||786||786||772|
|Rest Day||Sunday, Jan. 8|
|7||Monday, Jan. 9||622||622||622|
|8||Tuesday, Jan. 10||892||892||892|
|9||Wednesday, Jan. 11||977||977||977|
|10||Thursday, Jan. 12||751||751||751|
|11||Friday, Jan. 13||759||759||759|
|12||Saturday, Jan. 14||786||786||786|
Full full route information, visit the tournament's official site.
As expected, Stage 3 was a gruelling test for all involved, and the Argentinian landscape offered bumps and bruises for the whole field.
Dutch racing driver Tim Coronel highlighted the magnitude and challenge of the current stage:
In the bike section, last year's runner-up to Price—Stefan Svitko—suffered a huge blow as Barreda destroyed the field to win the stage and attain a convincing lead over the top riders.
The Spaniard won the stage by more than 13 minutes, and his main competition simply could not live with his pace and endeavour.
It was a difficult day for Price after his fantastic showing in Stage 2, and the reigning champion finished 20 minutes behind Barreda in the first portion, compromising his own chances of success.
The rally's official Twitter feed quoted Barreda, who admitted he needed to capture the stage victory:
Renet put in one of the performances of the rally this year, finishing third behind Barreda and Sunderland but ahead of a number of top riders in the field.
Nasser Al-Attiyah had led the car category during Stage 3 but lost a wheel from his Hilux to scupper his chances.
The event cost the Qatari dearly, allowing Peterhansel to prevail at his expense.
Sebastien Loeb held on to the lead in the general classifications for the car category, finishing in third on the current stage.
Loeb has provided consistency throughout the rally, but as the field tightens, he will need to capture more stage victories.