Dakar 2018 Stage Four
Sam Sunderland out after crash
Van Beveren moves into oveall lead
Toby Price makes nav’ error for 15th on stage
Honda men also frustrated by ‘badly placed’ waypoint
Rodney Faggotter moves up to 18th overall
Following the mass-start on the beach of San Juan de Marcona, riders re-entered the deep sand dunes of the Peruvian desert to continue their 330km timed special. Riding in a group meant navigation and maintaining a consistent pace were difficult due to the dust kicked up by the leading bikes. With many riders finding one particular waypoint difficult to locate, positions changed throughout the course of the stage.
Sam Sunderland, the overall bike class leader of the rally going into today’s stage, was forced to retire due to suffering back pain following a crash in the timed special.
Alex Doringer – KTM Rally Team Manager
“Unfortunately Sam had an accident today whilst searching for a waypoint around the 230km mark. He jumped into a hole and compressed his back. Although he was able to continue for the next five kilometres, he was then forced to retire when the pain became too bad. Initially he was airlifted back to the bivouac but was then taken onto the hospital in Lima for further checks. I managed to talk to Sam, before he flew to hospital, and although disappointed, he was still in good spirits. Overall, the team is performing well, and we’re pleased with how the rally is going.”
Putting in a brilliant stage performance aboard his WR450F Rally machine, Adrien Van Beveren has won stage four of the 2018 Dakar Rally. In doing so the Frenchman takes control of the event’s provisional overall standings.
Making the day even more special for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team, Adrien’s team-mate Xavier de Soultrait claimed the runner-up spot on today’s stage to move up to a very strong fifth position in the provisional overall standings.
Everything went according to plan for Van Beveren on Tuesday’s stage four of the Dakar. Making full use of his advantageous starting position – within the second group of riders – he put his vast sand racing experience to good use. Remaining focused on his navigation and pushing hard until the very end, he completed the timed special stage five minutes faster than his teammate Xavier de Soultrait and a blistering seven minutes faster than the rest of the field.
Four stages into this year’s Dakar Rally and Van Beveren is currently leading the overall standings by a little less than two minutes over his closest rival Pablo Quintanilla. With still a long way to go in this 40th edition of the event, Adrien remains focused on the ultimate goal of making history by bringing Yamaha back to the top of the Dakar Rally.
Adrien Van Beveren
“I am happy with the victory on this stage. We all started together on the beach and I was in the second group of riders to take the start. It reminded me a lot of the massive start in Le Touquet 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 capable of winning long stages. There is still a long way to go but I will do my best to keep this momentum going.”
After leading the group at the beginning of the special, Matthias Walkner dropped some time after getting lost in the deep dunes. Eventually the Austrian managed to find his way and was then able to make up some of the time lost to the riders ahead. Crossing the line in third, Matthias was happy with his day, despite the difficulty of the stage.
“That was a really hard day. It wasn’t what the riders expected at all after the mass-start on the beach. Navigation through the dunes in the middle of the special was tricky and quite a lot of riders got lost. We ended up in a group of around 15, all trying to find one certain waypoint. Eventually we got back underway but only after losing maybe 10 minutes on the front-runners. The dunes were especially difficult to ride today, there were so many soft patches and I ended up getting stuck four or five times. At one point I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get going again, the bike was so buried. The last section of the stage was ok, I pushed on and came in third. It’s not the best start position for tomorrow, but I’m happy just to get to the finish today. I hope Sam is ok from his crash and he’s not too badly hurt.”
Toby Price and Antoine Meo both started in the first group away at the beginning of the special stage. The team-mates shared a similar pace throughout the day and despite both losing their way a little around the midway point, the pair were able to get back on track and arrive at the finish safely.
Price crossed the line in 15th position after struggling to find a waypoint. Price crossed the line 11-minutes down on the leader and this result moves him down to sixth in the overall standings, but the Australian is still very much in the hunt with more than a week of Dakar still to go.
“That was the most difficult day so far. We thought by starting in a group it would be like a nice day out riding with your friends but as soon as we got to the dunes, the going got really tough. The worst thing was the sand was really unpredictable – there were loads of soft patches that were hard to see and if you were the first rider to hit them you ended up dropping right back. The group I was in missed a waypoint so we lost a fair amount of time getting back on track. As a positive I finished the stage in one piece, I’m in a good start position for tomorrow so I’ll crack on and see if I can claw back some time then.”
Honda’s Joan Barreda went off like a bat out of hell in the hope of clawing back some of yesterday’s lost time and found himself leading the field for a large part of the day. Later, in the final stretches, a badly-placed waypoint caused mayhem among competitors who had difficulty pinpointing its exact location. Many riders dropped valuable time trying to validate it.
“One day everything is fine and then the next day it’s all very sad. We have to stay focused on the goal. Today with all the difficulties that we had things turned out pretty well as we had planned, because tomorrow is the final day of the sand dunes. We wanted to start out from behind to try attack tomorrow, so that was perfect. We had a doubt over a waypoint that didn’t appear to be positioned right and we had to ride around quite a bit to find it and we lost a few minutes in the end. So, it’s a good position. It’s a shame Sunderland is out as he’s one of the strongest rivals. My hand injury was playing up a bit today; it’s not so bad in the dunes but hurts a bit up in the mountains, but I’ll just have to put up with it.”
Fast from the get go, Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait enjoyed his best stage to date in this year’s event. Being among the first group of riders to take the start, the Frenchman found himself provisionally leading the pack, only to be passed by his team-mate Van Beveren after the halfway mark. Securing the runner-up spot of the stage, Xavier is now fifth in the rally’s provisional overall standings, seven minutes and 34 seconds behind Adrien.
Xavier de Soultrait
“We had a great stage today. I started in the first group of riders. I got a good pace right from the start and then after the halfway mark I saw Adrien was right behind me. We raced for some time together and then he upped his pace and tried to make up some time. I did my best to follow him and this actually helped both of us in the final results. The last few kilometres were really fast and we had some great fun with Adrien. We’ve worked really hard during the season to be where we are right now.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla now finds himself placed second in the event’s provisional overall standings. Following a well-calculated plan of attack, the FR 450 Rally mounted rider is now one-minute and 55 seconds behind the provisional overall leader, Van Beveren, with 10 more stages still to be contested in this 40th edition of the event.
Among the first riders to take the start from the beach of Peru, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider secured fourth for the day.
“It was a tough day today but we managed to make the best out of it. Following the massive start in the morning, initially we thought navigation wasn’t going to be that difficult but we were wrong. After some kilometres, we realised that navigation was tough for everybody and the soft sandy dunes were not making it easier for us. In such conditions it is always tough to find the waypoints and select the best lines in the dunes. Nevertheless, it was a good stage for me. I lost a few minutes between kilometres 200 and 230, but the race was OK for me. I feel much better now with my stomach and I had a good dinner today. Tomorrow is the last day in the Peruvian dunes so anything could happen. I know that if I keep calm and stay focused on my job, we can finish these sand stages with a good overall result.”
Enjoying a mistake-free performance, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodney Faggoter has now made it into the top 20 in the rally’s overall standings. Securing 21st on stage four, the Aussie racer is now 18th in the overall standings.
“I had a good day with no crashes. For me it was another normal stage, navigation was tricky in some points but it all went well and I made no mistakes. The beach start was pretty crazy but then I got off to a good pace, which I retained until the finish of the timed special. I had a lot of dust during the day so that was one extra reason to remain focused and not take any risks. The bike is running great and I’m looking forward to the coming days.”
Dakar Rally 2018 Stage 4 – Provisional Results
1 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha 04:08’23
2 DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +05’01
3 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +07’10
4 QUINTANILLA Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +07’32
5 SVITKO Stefan 9 SLO Slovnaft Team KTM +07’45
6 OLIVERAS Daniel 29 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +08’39
7 CORNEJO José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +08’45
8 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +09’14
9 BARREDA Joan 5 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +10’00
10 FARRES Gerard 3 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +10’11
11 CAIMI Franco 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +10’23
12 AUBERT Johnny 40 FRA Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +10’24
13 METGE Michael 14 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11’17
14 BARRAGÁN Jonathan 60 SPA Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +11’23
15 PRICE Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +13’23
21. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 04:25:49, +17:26
Dakar 2018 – Provisional Overall After Stage 4
1 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha 11:03’23
2 QUINTANILLA Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +01’55
3 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +03’15
4 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +05’23
5 DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +07’34
6 PRICE Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +10’14
7 CORNEJO José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +12’06
8 CAIMI Franco 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +12’48
9 FARRES Gerard 3 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +13’05
10 MEO Antoine 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +13’47
12 BRABEC Ricky 20 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +21’07
13 BARREDA Joan 5 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +22’08
18. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 11:43:56, +40:33
Yamaha’s domination continues in the quad class of the 2018 Dakar Rally. With Sergei Kariakin winning the stage, Chile’s Ignacio Casale retains the provisional overall lead after stage four of the rally.
Dakar 2018 Stage Five
The 774km stage five of the 2018 Dakar Rally will be the second-longest of the event. A short liaison will lead riders from San Juan de Marcano into the 266km timed special, the majority of which will be made up of soft sand dunes.
After completing the special, a gruelling second liaison will take riders down the coast before heading inland and climbing to over 2000metres above sea-level, to finish at the city of Arequipa.