Dakar 2018 Day 4 Results


Big changes marked stage 4 of the 40th Dakar Rally with the biggest news being defending champion and race leader Sam Sunderland dropping out due to severe back pain after crashing. He got a flight back to Lima, Peru, to get checked in a proper hospital, but his injuries are believed to be soft-tissue-related and not extremely serious.

That opened the way for a pair of Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders from France to go 1-2 for the day which kicked off with a mass start on the beach of San Juan de Marcona, Peru, and made a giant 444-kilometer loop (330 kilometers of timed special and 114 of liaison), arriving back in the seaside city.

Adrien Van Beveren led the way in four hours, eight minutes, and 23 seconds, teammate Xavier de Soultrait a significant 5:01 behind as his closest competitor, and Austrian Matthias Walkner of the Red Bull KTM Factory Rally Team third, 7:10 back.

In the provisional overall standings after four stages, this allowed Van Beveren to take the lead for the first time, his total time 11:03:23 with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Pablo Quintanilla of Chile just behind in 11:05:18. Monster Energy Honda Team’s Kevin Benavides of Argentina drops to third in 11:06:38 after finishing the stage eighth, 9:14 behind Van Beveren.

Stage 4’s start offered another new twist. Instead of setting off one at a time, the bikes lined up in rows of 15, each starting five minutes apart, adding more of a motocross feel and excitement for spectators. Still, it paid to depend on your own navigation skill and not just follow the guy (or girl) in front of you.

But starting behind others remained an advantage that Van Beveren exploited after starting in the second row.

Van Beveren shared, “It reminded me a lot of the massive start in Le Touquet (which he’s won three times) and it was great fun for me. I knew I had to stay focused on my riding and navigation, and this is exactly what I did.

“We came across some parts where there was a lot of dust during the stage. My goal was to win it, so I knew I had to be patient and attack whenever that was possible. It all went well for me and I managed to pass many riders even from the first group.

“When we reached the big dunes, we raced alongside Xavier and actually helped each other to the finish. It was a great day for me and a great day for Yamaha. We proved that we have a bike (WR450F Rally) capable of winning long stages. There is still a long way to go but I will do my best to keep this momentum going.”

Stage 4 provided mixed fortunes for the American contingent as well. Rookie Andrew Short felt at home with the mass start and is getting a bit more comfortable with navigation at speed aboard his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s FR 450.

Back at the bivouac in the afternoon, Short said, “That was my best ever stage in rallying. It was good fun to have a mass start, and it was great to see the pace of the fast guys for 18 kilometers along the beach. In the dunes I was in a good position, but there was a really tricky waypoint to find and I lost some time there. After finding that, I was able to continue with some really fast guys and manage to stay with them for a good distance. I did make a mistake with my navigation that was my own fault and cost me a little, but generally I am feeling really positive about the day. It was great to be able to ride with some of the top guys and I feel like I have learned a lot more today.”

Short completed the stage with the 22nd-fastest time, which moved him to 22nd in the overall standings at 11:56:19.

For Monster Energy Honda Team’s Ricky Brabec, stage 4 turned out quite a bit different than stage 3. One waypoint in particular eluded him for the longest time—a fate he shared with a number of other riders—and as a result, he finished the stage in 24th place, consequently dropping him to 12th overall in 11:24:30.

“It was pretty difficult [going today],” he admitted. “We had a beach start which was cool but also very difficult toward the end. The navigation was a little bit tricky—I think all of us got confused and lost at the same waypoint. I spent a bit more time at that waypoint trying to find it; everyone was going their own way. I thought it might be at the top of a dune [and] I struggled to get back to the top. Unfortunately it wasn’t there; it was in the next valley, so I lost about 20 minutes today, which hurts me pretty badly in the overall standings. It’s hard to swallow, but we’ll fight on over the next few days.”

While there’s still more than a week of racing left, that will certainly make it more difficult to claw back the time and land on the podium.

Shane Esposito had a respectable day, landing in 28th spot for the stage and 55th overall in 14:27:59 as he continues to get used to the KTM he’s riding for the Duust Rally Team out of Poland.

Mark Samuels had tracker issues, explaining, “I had my tracker device come loose and stop working, and I missed a waypoint causing a one-hour penalty, and then it was acting up after I fixed it, saying that I wasn’t hitting waypoints that I was so I lost a ton of time looking for something that was already found but wasn’t told by my device.”

The penalty and needless riding around dropped him to 34th for the stage and 59th overall in 14:19:10.

For Bill Conger, it was another day of survival, finishing the stage in 94th to put him 98th overall in 19:08:40.

Tomorrow’s stage 5 will take participants from San Juan de Marcona into Bolivia, a whopping 774-kilometer jaunt, 226 of which will be timed special in the early going followed by a huge liaison along the Pacific before arriving in Arequipa.

Ranking Rider Number Rider Team Overall Time Time From Leader Penalty
1 4 Adrien Van Beveren Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 11:03:23
2 10 Pablo Quintanilla Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing 11:05:18 + 00:01:55
3 47 Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team 11:06:38 + 00:03:15
4 2 Matthias Walkner Red Bull KTM Factory Team 11:08:46 + 00:05:23
5 23 Xavier de Soultrait Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 11:10:57 + 00:07:34
6 8 Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Team 11:13:37 + 00:10:14
7 68 Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo Monster Energy Honda Team 11:15:29 + 00:12:06
8 7 Franco Caimi Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 11:16:11 + 00:12:48
9 3 Gerard Farres Guell Himoinsa Racing Team 11:16:28 + 00:13:05
10 19 Antoine Meo Red Bull KTM Factory Team 11:17:10 + 00:13:47
Ranking Rider Number Rider Team Overall Time Time From Leader Penalty
12 20 Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team 11:24:30 + 00:21:07
22 54 Andrew Short Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing 11:56:19 + 00:52:56
53 64 Mark Samuels MEC Team 14:19:10 + 03:15:47 01:00:00
55 103 Shane Esposito Duust Rally Team 14:27:59 + 03:24:36 02:00:00
98 105 Bill Conger Klymciw Racing 19:08:40 + 08:05:17