Arequipa: Spaniard Joan Barreda (Honda) won the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally to vault up to fourth overall in the motorbike category.
Barreda on Wednesday finished the route between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa more than 10 minutes faster than Austrian rider Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM), climbing nine spots in the general ranking.
France’s Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) retained the overall lead despite finishing fifth in the stage, but saw his advantage over Argentina’s Kevin Benavides (Honda) reduced to just one minute.
Walkner is third in the general.
Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) trailed Barreda by more than 28 minutes on Wednesday and tumbled to ninth place overall.
It was Barreda’s second stage win at Dakar 2018.
Though hampered by a nagging wrist injury, the Spaniard was aggressive from the start, determined to gain ground after a crash forced defending champion Sam Sunderland to abandon the race on Tuesday.
While competitors put the rigours of the Peruvian desert behind them with the end of Wednesday’s stage, they will now have to contend with the challenge of high altitude in Bolivia.