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Dakar 2015: week one

Spaniard Joan Barreda leads after Stage Seven

SPANIARD Joan Barreda was leading the Dakar Rally as the gruelling race entered its second week.

Barreda, riding for HRC, finished yesterday’s Stage Seven with a 6m 28s lead over fellow Spaniard Marc Coma, on a KTM.

Barreda had started the stage with a lead of over 12 minutes but lost time after crashing. He rode the last 75 miles with broken handlebars.

It was the 2015 rally’s first Marathon stage, in which competitors are not allowed assistance from their team and must prepare their own bike.

Barreda said: ‘It was a tough stage where you had to be careful, but when I came to a muddy section around kilometre 200, while I was breaking before a danger marked on the road book, the bike slid and I crashed.

‘The handlebars were damaged, so I had to do the last 120 kilometres just with the right hand. I was pushing hard to lose a minimum of time, but that was not easy. We are now at the marathon stage, we are a great team and we will solve the problem with my teammates.’

Briton Sam Sunderland made a promising start to the rally with a Stage 1 victory riding for KTM, but was ruled out with a shoulder injury after crashing on Wednesday.

Standings after Stage Seven

1. Joan Barreda (Spa), HRC, 25:40.48

2. Marc Coma (Spa), KTM Red Bull, +6.28

3. Paulo Goncalves (Por), HRC, +10.59

4. Pablo Qunitanilla (Chi), KTM at +25.16

5. Toby Price (Aus), KTM Rally Factory, +29.20

6. Helder Rodrigues (Aus), HRC, +33.56

7. Stefan Svitko (Por), KTM Slovnaft, +40.23

8. Ruben Faria (Slo), KTM Red Bull, +40.55

9. Alain Duclos (Fra), Sherco Rally Factory,  +50.31

10. David Casteu (Fra), KTM Casteu, +1:16.52

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