Date: Wednesday 6th January 2021
Location: Wadi Ad-Dawasir > Riyadh
Length: 476km liaison + 337km special
Today’s stage, taking the competitors towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh, saw competitors able to test their top speeds with long straight sections covering over 800kms between the liaison and special stage. The race made its way from the rural landscapes of the desert, towards the densely populated city of Riyadh. After stage four, Stephane Peterhansel is still atop the car class, there’s a new overall leader in the bikes and Dmitry Sotnikov has extended his lead over Siarhei Viazovich to 26 minutes.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah continued his dominance of the competition, claiming his third victory since the competition left Jeddah on Sunday.
The Qatari was victorious by a very slim margin of eleven seconds to Stephane Peterhansel. The X-Raid Mini JCW Team driver has had his overall lead over Al-Attiyah slashed to within five minutes.
Al-Attiyah’s teammate Henk Lategan was again, up in the mix of the podium positions through the fourth stage of the competition as it looked like the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team may claim a 1-2 victory over the stage. Peterhansel put a stop to that in the final section of the stage with less than 40 kilometres to go – Lategan dropped to third.
X-Raid Mini JCW Team’s Carlos Sainz was clawing back time lost yesterday through stage three and it showed through his early pace – leading the pack into the second waypoint. Al-Attiyah took the ranks at the front of the pack from the Spaniard. Sainz was close to Al-Attiyah towards the penultimate way marker, however a poor performance over the two remaining sections cost him position, leading to fourth place for the four-time Dakar champion. Sainz retains third overall with a gap of twelve minutes to Lategan.
Sebastien Loeb was able to capitalise on the stage due to the number of long straights, which saw the Frenchman take fourth place on the stage, and in the overall standings. It was a great run for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team in what’s a new machine – the Prodrive Hunter.
Martin Prokop retained ninth overall after finishing the stage in twelfth, only 12 seconds adrift of the leaders.
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 02:35:59s
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 02:36:10s
- Henk Lategan / Brett Cummings – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 02:37:29s
Overall classification after Stage 4:
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 13:16:12s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 13:20:10s
- Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 13:51:31s
BIKES / LIGHTWEIGHT / TRUCKS
Joan Barreda is known for his strong performances on fast courses so it’s no surprise that the Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 rider took today’s victory – the 26th of his Dakar career. This win launched him into second place in the overall standings. Barreda’s victory comes after the spaniard endured a disastrous stage three where he finished in 29th place.
The Bike category welcomed a new leader to the general classification in Xavier De Soultrait, who now sits 15 seconds ahead of Barreda. De Soultrait takes over the top spot from Skyler Howes who now sits in fifth overall after finishing stage four in 20th.
Australia’s Toby Price was in contention for the top spot at the finish line, having led at the beginning of the stage. A navigational error, coupled with starting first on the road cost the Red Bull KTM Racing Team rider a precious five minutes. Price finished down in 22nd place as a result.
Britain’s Sam Sunderland dropped 10 minutes from lead rider Barreda, through the stage to finish in eleventh place, meaning Sunderland is now seventh in the overall standings a mere seven seconds off the overall pace.
Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Ross Branch claimed second place on the stage even after losing time from missing a waypoint.
Daniel Sanders of the KTM Factory Team remained to be the top rookie, finishing the stage in third place, thirteen seconds behind Branch.
The competition in the bikes is incredibly close with the top 19 riders separated by 30 minutes.
Kris Meeke added another strong performance to his Dakar debut, taking second on stage in the lightweight category.
Francisco Lopez has had his lead in the overall standings cut to just over three minutes after finishing sixth on the stage, and teammate Aron Domzala taking the class win and rising to second place overall.
Austin Jones finished in fifth place, taking third overall and Cristina Gutierrez lies behind in fourth after taking fourteenth position on the stage.
Dmitry Sotnikov claimed his third win in four days in the Truck category, taking his lead in the overall standings to Martin Macik to 26 minutes.
It was a disastrous day for front runner, and Sotnikov’s main rival Siarhei Viazovich suffered a major mechanical issue on his Maz-Sportauto Maz 6440RR. Viazovich lost hours due to the issue, and didn’t classify in the stage standings for the day. Let’s hope the issue can be fixed overnight.
Czech Macik is the biggest threat to the Russian competitors, classifying only 22 seconds behind Sotnikov, in fourth on the stage which has lifted the Big Shock Racing driver to second place in the overall standings. Anton Shibalov finished behind Macik in fifth place which places him third in the overall ranking.
- Joan Barreda Bort – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 02:46:50s
- Daniel Sanders – KTM Factory Team – 02:52:59s
- Luciano Benavides – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 02:53:12s
Overall after stage 4:
- Xavier De Soultrait – HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing – 15:00:25s
- Joan Barreda Bort – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 15:00:40s
- Ross Branch – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 15:05:49s
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 03:16:57s
- Kris Meeke / Wouter Rosegaar – PH Sport – 03:18:42s
- Mitchell Guthrie / Ola Floene – Red Bull Off-Road Team USA – 03:18:48s
Overall after stage 4:
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 16:38:57s
- Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton – Monster Energy Can-Am – 16:42:15s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 16:47:08s
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 02:58:47s
- Andrey Kariginov / Andrey Mokeev / Igor Leonov – Kamaz Master – 02:58:57s
- Aliaksei Vishneuski / Maksim Novikau / Siarhei Sachuk – Maz-Sportauto – 02:59:01s
Overall after stage 4:
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 14:45:58s
- Martin Macik / Frantisek Tomasek / David Svanda – Big Shock Racing – 15:12:20s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 15:12:55s