Stage 4 from Nazca to Arequipa was perhaps the most exciting stage of the Dakar Rally thus far. As new rivalries are made and stories develop, one thing is certain; Each stage difficulty goes up a notch, both physically and emotionally.
Robby Gordon came in to todays stage 00:46:47 behind the leader, Stéphan Peterhansel. After making up some time and earning a second position start from Stage 3, Robby sought to drive himself to a consecutive top 3 finish and put himself back in the hunt for the Dakar win. Unfortunately, his race came to a halt when he came over the lip of a dune and went end over, breaking his radiator and postponing his race for the next 2 hours. “It wasn’t a big rollover, except it put all the weight of the vehicle on the front, broke the windshield & 2 radiators,” commented Gordon.
Robby completed the 288KM special section of Stage 4 over 5 hours behind the pace set by Nesser Al-Attiyah. Although we can pretty much count Robby out for an overall victory in Dakar, we can count on him driving the hell out of his hummer and winning some stages along the way. With all the pressure now gone, Gordon will have no problem hanging it all out and doing what he does best.
Todays best racing was between Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and France’s Stéphan Peterhansel, although it was not the battle for first until after the final waypoint. Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit displayed dominance from the start and held a solid 40 second average lead over the two through the last waypoint. In a war to hold on for second and ultimately challenge Chicherit for the stage win, Peterhansel and Nasser switched positions seven different times through out the eight way points, averaging 17 seconds apart.
Nasser vs. Peterhansel Battle
S – Nasser 1st and Peterhansel 3rd
WP1 – Nasser by 3 seconds
WP2 – Peterhansel by 26 seconds
WP3 – Nasser by 26 seconds
WP4 – Peterhansel by 35 seconds
WP5 – Peterhansel by 33 seconds
WP6 – Nasser by 6 seconds
WP7 – Peterhansel by 5 seconds
WP8 – Nasser by 9 seconds
A – Nasser by 01:17
After reaching the eighth and final waypoint, Nasser was 9 seconds past Peterhansel and closing the gap on Chicherit (19 seconds ahead). With first place within eye sight, Nasser upped his pace and ended the stage 36 seconds before Chicherit crossed the line. Nasser’s second stage win of the 2013 Dakar Rally puts him in second place behind Stéphan Peterhansel in overall time.
Stage 1 winner, Carlos Sainz, finished 42 spots off first place. His car gave him electrical problems yesterday and haunted him again today. After having some issues with his GPS waypoint responder in Stage 2, race officials convened yesterday to discuss Carlos Sainz’s case and decided to deduct from his time the minutes he lost while looking for a waypoint with a malfunctioning GPS device. This meant the Spanish driver was the new winner of stage 2 in Pisco and was back in the overall lead with a 5’05’ buffer on Stéphane Peterhansel. A 14th place finish in Stage 3 left Sainz in the top 10. However before the beginning of Stage 4, the ERTF decided to take back their 20 minute reward, revealing that a second GPS was functioning correctly.
Stage 4 Car Results:
|1||300||AL-ATTIYAH (QAT), CRUZ (ESP)||BUGGY||003:28:46||00:00:00|
|2||309||CHICHERIT (FRA), GARCIN (FRA)||SMG||003:29:22||00:00:36||00:00:00|
|3||302||PETERHANSEL (CHE), COTTRET (FRA)||MINI||003:30:03||00:01:17||00:00:00|
|4||301||DE VILLIERS (ZAF), VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||003:33:03||00:04:17||00:00:00|
|5||305||ROMA (ESP), PÉRIN (FRA)||MINI||003:36:13||00:07:27||00:00:00|
|6||307||NOVITSKIY (RUS), ZHILTSOV (RUS)||MINI||003:42:41||00:13:55||00:00:00|
|7||352||COFFARO (VEN), MENESES (VEN)||TOYOTA||003:49:31||00:20:45||00:00:00|
|8||316||CHABOT (FRA), PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||003:49:53||00:21:07||00:00:00|
|9||328||THOMASSE (FRA), LARROQUE (FRA)||BUGGY MD RALLYE||003:53:23||00:24:37||00:00:00|
|10||308||SOUSA (PRT), RAMALHO (PRT)||GREAT WALL||003:54:55||00:26:09||00:00:00|
Team France seems to have taken over both the car and bike classes. Peterhansel is on pace for his 11th Dakar win. Chicherit and Chabot have both shown consistency, holding down the 6th and 7th places overall. With Thomasse rounding off the top ten overall, that puts four Frenchman in the top ten of cars. In the bike class, not only do three of France’s best riders hold down the top three positions but they are all within 03:09 of each other.
Cyril Despres (FRA) has put on a show so far. With four Dakar victories to his name, Despres looks to capitalize on arch rival Marc Coma’s absence in this year’s Dakar due to injury. Despres first won Dakar in 2005 after coming up short with two podium finishes in 2003 and 2004. “The other riders don’t scare me. I think I have everything I need to win: preparation, the team structure, the bike and experience. What I’ve noticed is that I get better year after year,” says Despres. Despite finishing 15th in todays stage, Despres sits pretty in third place overall with his win in Stage 3, 12th place finish in Stage 2 and 5th place finish in Stage 1.
Stage winner on the bike today was Spain’s Barreda Bort. Bort has now won two stages so far but currently lies in 4th place overall behind the French, due to a 44th place finish in Stage 3 and a 10th place finish in Stage 1. Oliver Pain (FRA) made his way to second place by the final waypoint and held that until the finish line. David Casteu (FRA) had been reeling in Spain’s Farres Guell all day. Guell spent most of the day in second but fatigued towards the end and gave up the last spot on the podium. With a second and third place finish, Pain and Casteu bumped Lopez Contardo (CHL) and Pal Anders Ullevalseter’s (NOR) out of the second and third overall positions.
Stage 4 Bike Results:
|1||005||BARREDA BORT (ESP)||HUSQVARNA||003:41:09||00:00:00|
|4||013||FARRES GUELL (ESP)||HONDA||003:52:49||00:11:40||00:00:00|
Complete Results for Stage 3 can be found on the ASO website.