Dakar SS4: First Dakar stage win for Nacho Cornejo

Stage four of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw the Monster Energy Honda Team components arrive at the final destination at the Al Ula bivouac, very well-positioned in the race. ‘Nacho’ Cornejo finished the race in first position, followed home by Benavides and Brabec. The American remains leader ahead of his team-mates.

The red livery of the Monster Energy Honda Team’s Honda CRF450 RALLYs was once again on victory parade today as the 2020 Dakar Rally arrives at day four. On the agenda, once more, was fast track which alternated between sandy and rocky sections.

Yesterday’s stage winner, American rider and current race leader Ricky Brabec, was the first to start out this morning, but despite the handicap of having to open without references ahead, was able, nevertheless, to set an infernal pace. Behind him, Nacho Cornejo was likewise putting pedal to the metal, not only maintaining his team-mate’s pace, but even managing to outstrip the Californian in the latter stretches. The Chilean, claimed his maiden special stage victory, after first place finisher Sam Sunderland was penalized. Cornejo holds third place overall.

Second on the day was Kevin Benavides, another rider in the frenetic battle for the stage triumph, who finished 35 seconds adrift of the stage winner. The Argentinean lies second in the general rankings. Behind him finished Monster Energy Honda Team stable-mate Brabec, who concluded the stage with a three-minute deficit from the Chilean stage winner. The Californian, nevertheless, continues to command at the head of the overall race standings with a 2’3” advantage over Benavides.

Not the best day at the office for Joan Barreda. Joan, starting from a favourable position, was victim of a fall, inflicting more damage to the rider, physically, and also to the machine navigation system. The Spaniard, who hails from Castellón, was able to make it back to the bivouac at Al Ula. Barreda is now seventh in the overall standings and is still maintaining his chances in the race.

Tomorrow, for the fifth stage, riders will once again be issued with the roadbooks 25 minutes before the start of the race. The race heads out from Al Ula, East-bound for Ha’il.

This is… Stage 5
LiAISON : 223 km – Speciale : 453 km – Total : 676 km

In the sandy surroundings of the day, humongous rocks will serve as landmarks to avoid costly navigation mistakes! Less technical but just as impressive as dunes, gigantic sandy hills stand to attention in front of the drivers. The descents, occasionally scattered with desert grass, will require even more advanced riding skills.

Kevin Benavides #7 – STAGE: 2nd OVERALL: 2nd : « Today was a very long day, very physically demanding and quite cold in the morning. The stage began fast and, little by little, the technical areas began to arrive with rocks and hard track where navigation was very difficult. Then came a fairly fast part once again and before the end it was back to another part with a very complicated navigation full of sand and rocks. It was really very nice but a very demanding special. My team-mates did an excellent job opening the track. I followed them closely but I remained a little behind. I am very happy with the pace of today. »

Ricky Brabec #9 – STAGE: 5th OVERALL: 1st : « The day was good. I didn’t have the best starting position. I started first. I was kind of nervous and I thought that I would lose a lot of time today. I’m very happy. I rode in front all day long. Then eventually my team-mate Nacho Cornejo caught up with me. We rode together from maybe kilometre 250 to the finish. We did really well. It was a really long and tiring day for the mind and the body. We are still healthy and the bikes are good and all the riders are still here. We have a couple of days left. We are going to rest and suit up for tomorrow. »

Joan Barreda #12 – STAGE: 23rd OVERALL: 7th : « Today I fell in the first part of the special in an area full of rocks. I took a blow in the ribs that I had already injured before. I also damaged the navigation instruments a bit so I had to ride alongside the other riders and consequently I had some navigational problems and lost a bit of time. After the I tried to salvage something from the day. But the important thing is that in spite of everything I’m still in one piece here back at the bivouac. I will try to recover physically for tomorrow’s stage. »

José Ignacio Cornejo #17 – ETAPA: 1st OVERALL: 3rd : « I’m very happy with the stage victory. The truth is that I wasn’t expecting it with Sam’s penalization. I’m really pleased to have achieved my first Dakar stage win. Today was a very long stage, very demanding physically and above all mentally. The first part was very fast where there was practically no time difference between the riders. From the first refuelling, difficult navigation areas began with poorly visible tracks and many tracks on either side. It was quite difficult until I have caught Ricky approximately at kilometre 220 and we helped each other to open the track until the second refuelling. It was a difficult stage where we went through some very beautiful places. I’m very happy with this stage in which we kept a cool head to be able to find the route more easily. »

Results Stage 4
1. Cornejo José Ignacio (CHI) – Monster Energy Honda Team, 04:24’51
2. Benavides Kevin (ARG) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +00’35
3. Evan Branch Ross (BWA) – BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM, +00’55
4. Goncalves Paulo (POR) – Hero Motorsports Team Rally, +02’11
5. Brabec Ricky (USA) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +02’48
6. Price Toby (KTM) – Factory Racing Team, +02’59
7. Aubert Johnny (FRA) – Sherco TVS Rally Factory, +03’52
8. Sunderland Sam (GBR) – KTM Factory Racing Team, +04’49
9. Howes Skyler (USA) – Klymciw Racing, +04’52
10. Santolino Lorenzo (SPA) – Sherco TVS Rally Factory, +06’24…
23. Barreda Joan (SPA) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +17’06…

Rider Standings
Provisional Standings after Stage 4
1. Brabec Ricky (USA) – Monster Energy Honda Team, 15:06’43
2. Benavides Kevin (ARG) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +02’30
3. Cornejo José Ignacio (CHI) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +08’31
4. Price Toby (AUS) – KTM Factory Racing Team, +12’09
5. Quintanilla Pablo (CHI) – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, +17’52
6. Sunderland Sam (GBR) – KTM Factory Racing Team, +19’11
7. Barreda Joan (SPA) – Monster Energy Honda Team, +25’20
8. Benavides Luciano (ARG) – KTM Factory Racing Team, +26’30
9. Walkner Matthias (AUT) – KTM Factory Racing Team, +27’03
10. Howes Skyler (USA) – Klymciw Racing, +34’28…

Press Release,