2016 Dakar Rally – Stage Four
Paulo Goncalves leads Dakar 2016 after Stage Four – Honda 1-2-3 in Outright Standings
Toby Price stages great recovery to finish sixth on stage and move up to eighth outright
Joan Barreda was yesterday hit with a one-minute penalty for speeding in a radar control, which meant the Spanish whizz was stripped of his first place in both the stage result and the overall rankings. Barreda started today from fifth place which allowed him to chase down the adversaries across 400 kilometres of special stage today, which took place at an average of 3,500 metres altitude in the Jujuy region.
Barreda did a brilliant job on the bike to finish second to Paulo Goncalves, but again was judged to have broken the speed limit at several radar checks and this time a five-minute penalty was added to Barreda’s time, relegating him to fourth place for the stage. If not for the six-minutes of penalty time added to his cumulative total Barreda would be leading Dakar 2016 outright, but instead is now third outright.
Paulo Goncalves – Stage Winner – Outright Leader – “The stage went pretty well. It was a long special at more than 400 kilometres with a very high average speed. There wasn’t a lot of navigation but I was in doubt at one point and I lost a few seconds. We arrived without any problems and everything will be ready to set off tomorrow for the second part of the marathon stage. The teamwork has been excellent: to arrive here with everything in order, in a stage like this one, is perfect.”
Joan Barreda – Fourth on Stage (after penalty) – Third Outright – “We kept up a really fast pace in this stage. Kevin Benavides opened the track and was very speedy, as was Paulo. I tried to catch him up and got past Svitko. In the last kilometres I was riding behind the KTM riders and I had to slow things down due to the dust. We had a great day and took care of the bikes, plus there were no falls or problems that could compromise tomorrow’s start. Now it’s time to rest and prepare the second part of the marathon stage.”
Honda South America Rally Team local-boy Kevin Benavides opened the track today after becoming yesterday’s winner due to Barreda’s sanction. This marks a new milestone for Argentinean motorcycle racing. Benavides set a hasty pace and posted the day’s fourth fastest time, but was promoted to second for the stage after Barreda’s speeding indiscretions and is now second overall in the outright standings.
Kevin Benavides – Second on Stage – Second Outright – “It is the first time that I have opened the track in the Dakar and I was a little nervous as I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I was very careful with the roadbook and I think that I didn’t do badly: I found all the right routes and was able to maintain a good pace. Paulo caught me up and we arrived at the finish-line together. We have to save our strength and protect the bikes because we are without assistance.”
Husqvarna’s Ruben Faria proved he is a Dakar rider of resilience and experience on Wednesday when he made a strong recovery to finish second in Stage 4. Faria was just 2mins-35secs behind stage winner and fellow Portuguese rider Paolo Goncalves.
With this result Faria has put a difficult day in Stage 3 behind him and is now fifth in the overall standings. He is 7mins-21secs off the leading time but there is a long way to go in this 9,000km journey.
It was also a good recovery from the previous day when Toby Price had some problems and finished back at 38th place. The Australian was fifth fastest on stage four and was just four-minutes off the pace of stage winner Paolo Goncalves. Price is now eighth in the overall rankings.
It was also a strong day for team KTM rookie Antoine Meo of France who finished just ahead of Price in fifth place. The multi Enduro world champion is quickly adapting to rally raid and came in six-minutes behind the leader to move into the top ten in the overall standings.
Meo: “It was a very long stage – my first marathon stage. It was a bit hard because I had to save my tyres, so I never went over 150km/h. I lost six minutes to the winner, but I’m quite happy because my tyres are still in good condition. I rode within my limits today. It’ll be quite something if I manage to stay at the front every day. Navigating wasn’t too difficult and I was in the mix every time, so I’m happy with how it went today.”
Frenchman Michael Metge (Honda) and American Ricky Brabec (Honda), turned in very swift performances to collect tenth and seventh spots respectively.
Ricky Brabec – “The truth is that I felt pretty good in the stage today. It was a very fast one with a lot of high-altitude track but it went very well. I’m getting more and more used to the race which is important as there is still a long way to go. The team is doing a really great job and the bikes are running really well too.”
Michael Metge – “It hasn’t been a bad stage. I was riding really well until I came up against a rider who I couldn’t get past. He was spraying dirt all over me and he put me off my stroke. I was finally able to overtake him but I ended up losing a lot of time.”
Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla of Chile was ninth in the stage and is currently seventh overall.
Quintanilla: “We rode a lot in the Dakar manner if you consider the amount of kilometers, although only on trails and little navigation. My idea was to leave Argentina without making mistakes and I did succeed. I hope that as we enter Bolivia we find more offroad because that is my real strength and I can put on the pressure.”
Following an excellent start to the special that saw him go through the first checkpoint in fourth place, Pierre Alexandre (Pele) Renet suffered a fall at the 400km mark, shortly before the end of the timed section. He was attended by the medical team and taken to a hospital in Jujuy for treatment to ‘a traumatic brain injury’, that resulted in loss of consciousness and his premature departure from Dakar.
Dakar 2016 – Stage Four – Provisional Results
Dakar 2016 – Provisional Outright Standings after Stage Four
Tomorrow’s Stage – 2016 January 7 – Stage 5: San Salvador de Jujuy – Uyuni
Special sections: 327 km – Total: 642 km – Beware of headaches!
All round vigilance is required for this second part of the marathon stage: On Thursday riders must look after bikes and tyres through Stage 5, but there is an additional challenge. The rally enters Bolivia and during the timed special they will climb to 4,600m altitude. Organizers have also promised that navigation is about to get more difficult so riders will have to concentrate on their road books on the way from Jujuy to Uyuni, a distance of 642km, with a timed special of 327km.