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Peterhansel sizzles while Alonso fizzles on Day 4 of Dakar

Brabec still leads in Bikes
Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Stephane Peterhansel
Stephane Peterhansel

13-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel became the fourth different driver to top a stage in the 2020 Dakar Rally, as Nasser Al-Attiyah halved the gap to leader Carlos Sainz Sr.

Wednesday's Neom - Al-'Ula stage included the marathon's longest timed test so far at 281 miles, which was split by an 80km neutralized zone, and was completed by Peterhansel in just over four hours.

The 13-time Dakar champion was sixth in the starting order, but his X-raid Mini buggy was the third car to arrive at the finish line and he clocked the fastest time at all but the first checkpoint.

Further down the rankings, Toyota Gazoo Racing's Fernando Alonso showed none of the speed and bravery of the previous stage, with his pace fizzling out midway through this stage. He was to later finish Day Four some 26 minutes adrift of the stage winner, and thus dropping him to 16th overall on the general classification.

Peterhansel slowed his charge in the final kilometers to conserve his car, while Al Attiyah and Sainz threw caution to the wind in a bid to catch the Frenchman. However, it was too little too late: Peterhansel claimed his first stage victory in 2020 by nearly two-and-a-half minutes from Al Attiyah and with Sainz some five minutes further back.

This means Sainz still holds the overall lead of the Cars category, but that leads been squashed to only 03min 03sec - and, tantalizingly, had Al Attiyah not incurred that three-minute time penalty on Day Three, he would be only three seconds behind the Dakar Rally's leader.


Ricky Brabec still leads
Ricky Brabec still leads

Stage four of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw the Monster Energy Honda Team components arrive at the final destination at the Al Ula bivouac, very well-positioned in the race. ‘Nacho’ Cornejo finished the race in first position, followed home by Benavides and Brabec. The American remains leader ahead of his team-mates.

The red livery of the Monster Energy Honda Team’s Honda CRF450 RALLYs was once again on victory parade today as the 2020 Dakar Rally arrives at day four. On the agenda, once more, was fast track which alternated between sandy and rocky sections.

Yesterday’s stage winner, American rider and current race leader Ricky Brabec, was the first to start out this morning, but despite the handicap of having to open without references ahead, was able, nevertheless, to set an infernal pace. Behind him, Nacho Cornejo was likewise putting pedal to the metal, not only maintaining his team-mate’s pace, but even managing to outstrip the Californian in the latter stretches. The Chilean, claimed his maiden special stage victory, after first place finisher Sam Sunderland was penalized. Cornejo holds third place overall.

Cornejo: "I’m very happy with the stage victory. The truth is that I wasn’t expecting it with Sam’s penalization. I’m really pleased to have achieved my first Dakar stage win. Today was a very long stage, very demanding physically and above all mentally. The first part was very fast where there was practically no time difference between the riders. From the first refuelling, difficult navigation areas began with poorly visible tracks and many tracks on either side. It was quite difficult until I have caught Ricky approximately at kilometer 220 and we helped each other to open the track until the second refuelling. It was a difficult stage where we went through some very beautiful places. I’m very happy with this stage in which we kept a cool head to be able to find the route more easily."

Second on the day was Kevin Benavides, another rider in the frenetic battle for the stage triumph, who finished 35 seconds adrift of the stage winner. The Argentinean lies second in the general rankings. Behind him finished Monster Energy Honda Team stable-mate Brabec, who concluded the stage with a three-minute deficit from the Chilean stage winner. The Californian, nevertheless, continues to command at the head of the overall race standings with a 2’3” advantage over Benavides.

Not the best day at the office for Joan Barreda. Joan, starting from a favorable position, was victim of a fall, inflicting more damage to the rider, physically, and also to the machine navigation system. The Spaniard, who hails from Castellon, was able to make it back to the bivouac at Al Ula. Barreda is now seventh in the overall standings and is still maintaining his chances in the race.

Tomorrow, for the fifth stage, riders will once again be issued with the roadbooks 25 minutes before the start of the race. The race heads out from Al Ula, East-bound for Ha’il.

Car Top-10 Stage 4

1Stephane PeterhanselBahrain JCW X-Raid TeamMini/BMW4h04m34s
2Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo RacingToyota2m26s
3Carlos Sainz Sr.Bahrain JCW X-Raid TeamMini/BMW7m18s
4Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive ToyotaToyota11m30s
5Mathieu SerradoriSRT RacingCentury/?13m17s
6Giniel de VilliersToyota Gazoo RacingToyota18m16s
7Bernhard Ten BrinkeToyota Gazoo RacingToyota18m35s
8Jakub PrzygonskiOrlen X-Raid TeamMini/BMW19m23s
9Orlando TerranovaX-Raid TeamMini/BMW22m22s
10Pierre LachaumePH-SportPeugeot22m53s

Overall Car Standings

1Carlos Sainz Sr.Bahrain JCW X-Raid TeamMini/BMW15h12m12s
2Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo RacingToyota3m03s
3Stephane PeterhanselBahrain JCW X-Raid TeamMini/BMW11m42s
4Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive ToyotaToyota23m10s
5Orlando TerranovaX-Raid TeamMini/BMW23m13s
6Mathieu SerradoriSRT RacingCentury/?26m55s
7Giniel de VilliersToyota Gazoo RacingToyota34m40s
8Bernhard Ten BrinkeToyota Gazoo RacingToyota44m40s
9Martin ProkopMP SportsFord1h09m41s
10Yasir SaeidanRace World TeamMini/BMW1h30m25s
11Benediktas VanagasGeneral Financing Team PitlaneToyota1h35m19s
12Ronan ChabotOverdrive ToyotaToyota1h41m55s
13Pierre LachaumePH-SportPeugeot1h59m41s
14Wei HanGeely Auto Shell Lubricant TeamHanwei/Geely2h00m32s
15Denis KrotovMSK Rally TeamMini/BMW2h11m17s
16Fernando AlonsoToyota Gazoo RacingToyota2h59m27s

Bikes Stage 4 Top-10

1CORNEJO Jose Ignacio17CHIMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda04:24'51
2BENAVIDES Kevin7ARGMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+00'35
4GONCALVES Paulo8PORHero Motorsports Team RallyHero+02'11
5BRABEC Ricky9USAMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+02'48
6PRICE Toby1AUSKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+02'59
7AUBERT Johnny20FRASherco TVS Rally FactorySherco+03'52
8SUNDERLAND Sam3GBRKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+04'49
9HOWES Skyler59USAKlymciw RacingKTM+04'52
10SANTOLINO Lorenzo24SPASherco TVS Rally FactorySherco+06'24

Bikes Overall Top-10

1BRABEC Ricky9USAMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda15:06'43
2BENAVIDES Kevin7ARGMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+02'30
3CORNEJO Jose Ignacio17CHIMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+08'31
4PRICE Toby1AUSKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+12'09
5QUINTANILLA Pablo5CHIHusqvarna Factory Rally TeamHusqvarna+17'52
6SUNDERLAND Sam3GBRKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+19'11
7BARREDA Joan12SPAMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+25'20
8BENAVIDES Luciano16ARGKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+26'30
9WALKNER Matthias2AUTKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+27'03
10HOWES Skyler59USAKlymciw RacingKTM+34'28

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