Once again, a Monster Energy Honda Team rider claimed the top spot on a very lengthy fourth day of the Dakar Rally. Joan Barreda clinched yet another stage victory and now lies in second overall. Kevin Benavides likewise turned out a fine showing and currently holds fourth in the general standings.
After heading out from the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac, riders embarked on a 266-kilometre road link to the start of the 337-kilometre special, heading north towards the newly situated bivouac in Riyadh, before another 253-kilometre liaison took the day’s total to 856 kilometres. The special was, for the most part, over sandy track and hard terrain, while the few dunes on the route did not present any significant dangers. Navigation, once again, played a key role in the stage.
Joan Barreda took advantage of his 30th-position start to attempt to close the gap as much as possible on his rivals. The Spanish rider from Monster Energy Honda Team set a scorching pace to claim a second triumph in this Dakar, with the rider from Castellón taking his stage-winning tally to 26. Overall, Barreda holds second place, a mere 15 seconds behind the new leader De Soultrait.
Another fine mission from José Ignacio Cornejo in this 2021 Dakar. The level of motivation of the Chilean rider from Iquique grows by the day and the rider looked very much at ease on the track, recording the seventh best time of the day. Cornejo is now ninth in the general rankings, eight minutes adrift of the top.
If Barreda rode a fine stage, Kevin Benavides certainly did no less. The Argentinean rider, starting second on the day, rode like a bat out of hell, fending off valiantly the attacks from opponents to bring the Honda CRF450 RALLY home in fourteenth place, without dropping much precious time. Benavides slid to fourth place in the Dakar overall standings, where he currently lies in third, some 5’24 behind De Soultrait.
Ricky Brabec today played his hand in a bid to find some kind of consistency that might produce better results that on the previous stages. The reigning Dakar champion finished in the top twenty and occupies fifteenth position overall, just over fifteen minutes behind the race leader.
The fifth stage will take the riders into a new, tough stage tomorrow. Competitors head out from Riyadh bound for the new Al Qaisumah camp. There will be a 205-kilometre timed special, out of a total of 456 kilometres, over varied terrain including sand, dunes, but also over rocky ground that could potentially cause punctures.