As the dust settles on a dramatic Stage 4 of the 2020 Dakar Rally, so the leaderboards across all five categories start to take shape. With close to 2,500 kilometres traversed through the stunning landscapes of Saudi Arabia, we’re beginning to see who has put themselves in pole position for glory at the first Middle Eastern Dakar.
In the side-by-side race there was a first ever Dakar stage win for the debutants of Red Bull Off-Road Team USA. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) and his co-driver Ola Floene (NOR) have backed up an impressive start to the Dakar by arriving in Al Ula quickest of all SxS competitors. The result has propelled Guthire Jr. to sixth overall, just half an hour behind race new leader Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez (ESP). Chaleco Lopez (CHI) is in second, three minutes off the summit.
“We had no flats or any other problems, we were able to keep it moving all day.” – Mitch Guthrie Jr.
A battle royale is developing in the car race with Monsieur Dakar himself, Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) winning his first stage in Saudi Arabia. Peterhansel’s victory on Stage 4 has propelled him up the rankings to third overall.
“Today was the best day since the beginning of the rally. We didn’t do too many mistakes, we were lost for about three minutes in total.” – Stéphane Peterhansel
Ahead of 13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel is Carlos Sainz (ESP) in the lead, with Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) in second. Less than 12 minutes separate this trio who have won the Dakar 18 times between them. Expect the threesome to all put their foot down on the two stages that remain before the midway Rest Day in Riyadh.
There were also encouraging performances by Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) and Kuba Przygonski (POL) as they attempt to stay in touch with the podium places.
A blistering finish to the 453-kilometre special stage by Sam Sunderland (GBR) saw the 2017 Dakar winner set the fastest time of the bike stage. Despite being later penalised with a five-minute penalty for excessive speed, The Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider sits sixth overall – less than 20 minutes behind overall leader Ricky Brabec (USA). Sunderland’s team-mate Toby Price (AUS) is fourth overall, 12 minutes back from Brabec.
“We’re staying in contention and looking forward to the second week. I’m not looking to bash myself up or bend the bike.” – Toby Price
Sunderland and Price are joined in the Top 10 by fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Matthias Walkner (AUT) as they squad chase a 19th consecutive Dakar bike win.
Top placed female biker Laia Sanz (ESP) was pleased with her ride on Stage 4 as she broke in the Top 25 overall.
“It was a long day, but I’m more happy than I was with the last two days. I was able to enjoy the stage and also improve my result today.” – Laia Sanz
The overall lead of the truck race has changed hands thanks to a 1-2-3 result for Team Kamaz Master on Stage 4. Anton Shibalov (RUS) led home team-mates Andrey Karginov (RUS) and Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS). 2014 Dakar winner Karginov is now out in front in the truck class, having leapfrogged Siarhei Viazovich (BLR).
“It was a really crazy day today, such a difficult stage. The rocks were so dangerous and we needed to take care to avoid any big problems.” – Anton Shibalov
A third stage win from four days of racing has increased the advantage Ignacio Casale (CHI) holds at the head of the quad contest. Casale’s closet competitors is now over 20 minutes behind him.
Tomorrow brings with it Stage 5 and those who remain in the Dakar convoy will be plunged deep into the dunes. Huge descents over desert grass will test each and every competitor as they tackle the 353-kilometres timed special stage between Al Ula and Ha’il.
The 2020 Dakar finishes on Friday, January 17 in Al-Qiddiya. Keep up-to-date with the entire Red Bull Desert Wings convoy on Red Bull Motorsports’ social media: Red Bull Motorsport Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Desert Wings Instagram
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 4 Results
2020 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after Stage 4)
- Carlos Sainz (ESP) MINI Buggy 15h12m12s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Toyota +03m03s
- Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) MINI Buggy +11m42s
- Yazzed Al Rajhi (SAU) Toyota +23m10s
- Orlando Terranova (ARG) MINI Rally +23m13s
2020 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5 (after Stage 4)
- Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 15h06m43s
- Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda +02m30s
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI) Honda +08m31s
- Toby Price (AUT) KTM +12m09s
- Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +17m52s
2020 Dakar Rally Side-by-side Race Top 3 (after Stage 4)
- Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez (ESP) Can-Am 18h24m52s
- Chaleco Lopez (CHI) Can-AM +03m01s
- Casey Currie (USA) Can-Am +04m34s
2020 Dakar Rally Truck Race Top 5 (after Stage 4)
- Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 15h54m43s
- Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +10m43s
- Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +15m02s
- Martin Macik (CZE) Iveco +59m16s
- Ales Loprais (CZE) Praga +01h08m55s
2020 Dakar Rally Quad Race Top 3 (after Stage 4)
- Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 19h00m47s
- Giovanni Enrico (CHI) Yamaha +21m03s
- Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +30m50s
Words and photos courtesy of RedBull