The Dakar convoy had everything thrown at it during Stage 4 on Wednesday as the drivers and riders tackled the longest stage of the entire 2022 edition with 465km featuring every type of sand while also demanding flat-out speed. Here is all you need to know:
– Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) managed to eke out another few seconds to boost his car lead to 38m05s over Frenchman Sébastien Loeb as the three-time winner earned his 44th stage victory.
– Second place on Stage 4 keeps Loeb second overall with Poland’s Kuba Przygonski putting his MINI JCW Buggy back into contention for the overall podium after a difficult start to the rally.
– Tuesday’s Stage 3 winner Carlos Sainz (ESP) was third on the day behind the wheel of his Audi RS Q e-tron, but Audi team-mates Mattias Ekström (SWE) and Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) suffered mechanical issues.
– The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team have won every single T3 stage with Seth Quintero (USA) dominant as Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) finished runner-up and Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) fourth leaving Chaleco Lopez (CHI) leading after navigating the Al Qaisumah and Riyadh route unscathed.
– Danilo Petrucci (ITA) looked like adding a Dakar bike podium result to go with his 10 career MotoGP podiums thanks to his initial third place, but that was later changed to 15th following a 10-minute penalty.
– A tactically astute ride from Sam Sunderland (GBR) keeps the 2017 Dakar winner top after 1,500km of racing against the clock as he increased his lead over 2018 champion Matthias Walkner (AUT) to three minutes with Daniel Sanders (AUS) 07m07s behind for GasGas Factory Racing.
– Walkner’s fellow KTM Factory riders Toby Price (AUS) and Kevin Benavides (ARG) will already be working on their plan of attack for the second week of the rally after another frustrating day in the saddle.
– Defending champion Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) retains his lead of the truck race, but Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) is now only six minutes away in the general classification after another stage win today.
– Thursday’s Stage 5 will see the field face a sea of dunes over 40km long, among other potential pitfalls, on a tricky loop stage of over 350km around the Riyadh bivouac.
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We caught up to some cars in front of us early in the day. Then we decided to keep a good pace and minimise any risk. Mathieu (Baumel) did a great job with the navigation.”
Kuba Przygonski: “We had a lot of different types of terrain. Fast roads, stony roads, dunes, a bit of everything. We made some improvements to the car last night and now we are faster.”
Seth Quintero: “We started up front today and ran at our own pace. We had one little hiccup with navigation, but it wasn’t anything crazy.”
Matthias Walkner: “Today’s navigation was tricky with many changes of direction. It was a fast stage and it was long, but I enjoyed it a lot.”
Danilo Petrucci: “It was a really long stage, so I’m so happy that I could avoid any big mistakes. It was tough until the end.”
Daniel Sanders: “The plan worked out not too bad. I caught the guys in front early. It was tricky navigation and after the refuelling I was opening the road. My face is a bit of a mess because I faceplanted the navigation screen off a dune jump. After that I took a moment to regroup.”
Kevin Benavides: “Today was a really hard day. At the beginning it was really cold, my hands were frozen for the first 100km. After that I started to feel better and I could push.”
Toby Price: “We lost a bit of time on Stage 4 and that was to be expected. There were a couple of small mistakes but, all in all, we got through it with good pace and rhythm.”
2022 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 4
CAR RACE TOP 5
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 13:26:02
2. S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +38:05
3. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +49:15
4. G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +49:17
5. L. ALVAREZ (ARG) TOYOTA +53:58
BIKE RACE TOP 5
1. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS 15:30:01
2. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +03:00
3. A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +04:54
4. D. SANDERS (AUS) GAS GAS +07:07
5. L. SANTOLINO (ESP) SHERCO +10:28
TRUCK RACE TOP 5
1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 15:02:53
2. E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +06:10
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +25:05
4. J. VAN KASTEREN (NLD) IVECO +48:54
5. A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +58:10
LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
1. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 16:08:33
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +20:59
3. P. PINCHEDEZ (FRA) CAN-AM +1:46:09
4. F. ALVAREZ (ESP) CAN-AM +2:02:34
5. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +2:18:33