The 2021 Dakar Rally has reached Riyadh via a mixture of Saudi Arabian terrain including dunes and fast-paced tracks. After four stages and 1,500 kilometres of racing against the clock, the general classification is starting to take shape…
A third consecutive stage win for Nasser Al-Attiyah has helped the Qatari to chip away further at race leader Stéphane Peterhansel’s advantage.
« It’s been difficult in these early stages to make a big difference, but I’m happy. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah
13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel conceded 11 seconds to Al-Attiyah on Stage Four and the Frenchman’s lead has now been reduced to under five minutes.
« It felt risky today to be so close to the maximum all day. » – Stéphane Peterhansel
Another clean stage for Sébastien Loeb has lifted him to fourth overall, 12 minutes behind Carlos Sainz in third.
« I pushed hard all the stage and the car had no problems. » – Sébastien Loeb
Cyril Despres, Giniel de Villiers and Kuba Przygoński also keep themselves in the general classification by arriving safely in Riyadh.
Dakar rookie Daniel Sanders continues to make waves in the bike race, this time with a second place result on Stage Four. This latest highlight from the Australian follows up his podium finish on the Prologue. The debutant’s impressive performances have put him in 14th overall, one spot behind Štefan Svitko.
« I was concentrating on the roadbook and that all went well. » – Daniel Sanders
2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland finished ten minutes back from stage winner Joan Barreda.
« It looked like the stage times would all be quite close today so it didn’t really make sense to keep pushing. » – Sam Sunderland
Coming home a further five minutes behind Sunderland were his team-mates Toby Price and Matthias Walkner. The Stage Four results put Sunderland and Price seven minutes back from new race leader Xavier De Soultrait.
« I had a pretty clean run, not much in the way of mistakes. All in all, we’re here and in a good way. » – Toby Price
It was another smooth stage in the saddle for Laia Sanz, Camille Chapelière and Mohammed Jaffar.
« I’m going to rest when I get back to the bivouac so I’m in good shape for tomorrow. It’s still only the beginning of the adventure! » – Camille Chapelière
Mitch Guthrie Jr. of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team narrowly missed out on a third stage win of his Dakar career. The American has battled back from a tough Stage One and today’s runner-up result in the Lightweight Vehicles showed he’s back on the pace.
« We ended up around second and tomorrow we’ll really push. » – Mitch Guthrie Jr.
Chaleco López continues to lead the Lightweight Vehicles race with Seth Quintero, Cristina Gutiérrez and Mattias Ekström all still in the mix.
« At around 150km I got behind my team-mate Mitch (Guthrie) and I followed him in. It was good to be working as a team. » – Seth Quintero
It’s turning into a very good opening week of the rally for truck category leader Dmitry Sotnikov. The Russian trucker continues to front Team Kamaz Master’s hunt for victory. Sotnikov has led since winning the Prologue and enjoys an overnight lead of more than 25 minutes from his nearest rival.
« The end of stage was really difficult to navigate and I think our co-driver did a great job today. We did well to get through without mistakes. » – Dmitry Sotnikov
It’s a one night stay in Riyadh for the Dakar Rally convoy as tomorrow morning sees the competitors setting off Al Qaisumah. A tough dune section in the middle of the 456km timed special stage is expected to bring down the average speed.
STAGE FOUR RESULTS
2021 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – Toyota, 02:35:59
2. S. Pterhansel (FRA) – Buggy Mini, +00:00:11
3. H. Lategan (ZAF) – TOYOTA, +00:01:30
4. S. Loeb (FRA) – BRX Prodrive, +00:02:36
5. C. Sainz (ESP) – Buggy Mini, +00:02:56…
2021 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5
1. J. Barreda (ESP) – Honda, 02:46:50
2. D. Sanders (AUS) – KTM, +00:06:09
3. L. Benavides (ARG) – Husqvarna, +00:06:22
4. R. Branch (BWA) – Yamaha, +00:06:57
5. X. De Soultrait (FRA) – Husqvarna, +00:07:19…
2021 Dakar Rally Lightweight Vehicle Top 5
1. A. Domzala (POL) – CAN-AM, 03:16:57
2. K. Meeke (GBR) – PH Sport, +00:01:45
3. M. Guthrie (USA) – OT3, +00:01:51
4. M. Goczal CZAL (POL) – CAN-AM, +00:02:44
5. A. Jones (USA) – CAN-AM, +00:02:48…
2021 Dakar Rally Truck Top 5
1. D. Sotnikov (RUS) – KAMAZ, 02:58:47
2. A. Karginov (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:00:10
3. A. Vishneuski (BLR) – MAZ, +00:00:14
4. M. Macik (CZE) – IVECO, +00:00:22
5. A. Shibanov (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:03:56…
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « It wasn’t an easy stage and we made a small mistake where we lost a minute. After that we came to the finish fine. It’s been difficult in these early stages to make a big difference, but I’m happy. It’s great to have my team-mate Henk (Lategan) at the front of the race with me. »
Stéphane Peterhansel: « I don’t think we could have been any quicker today. Just at the end we lost maybe 30 seconds. It felt risky today to be so close to the maximum all day. It will be risky to drive at full speed for the rest of the Dakar if that’s what we have to do. »
Sébastien Loeb: « We’ve finished the stage just a couple of minutes off the lead. That’s the time that we lost looking for one or two caps. Overall, we’ve done a good stage. I pushed hard all the stage and the car had no problems. »
Kuba Przygoński: « We were on the limit of our car for almost the whole stage. Two places were tricky with navigation, but we did them both quite good. It’s was an enjoyable stage with some great views. »
Carlos Sainz: « The stage was OK, but the navigation was difficult. There were some tricky places that were not easy for us. »
Toby Price: « It terms of leading out the stage, today wasn’t as bad as it has been. I had a pretty clean run, not much in the way of mistakes. All in all, we’re here and in a good way. »
Sam Sunderland: « It looked like the stage times would all be quite close today so it didn’t really make sense to keep pushing. I cut the gas a little bit in the second part and hopefully this means I won’t have to start up front tomorrow. »
Daniel Sanders: « Today went really well. I started strong and wasn’t too far away from the boys out front. I was concentrating on the roadbook and that all went well. I had one good crash in the dunes and got stuck on another one. Luckily I got away with both of them. »
Matthias Walkner: « In the morning I felt quite good but then at 80km I made a mistake and it took me a lot of time to find the right way. After the refuelling I was with a group and together we pushed like hell. I ended up about 10 minutes back so not too bad. »
Laia Sanz: « It was a really fast stage. I felt more or less good and I was trying to be safe. I don’t know the results but I feel I’m getting better every day. The bike is perfect as always. »
Camille Chapelière: « Today was really, really fast and fun. I did better yesterday in the dunes, but today was fun. I’m going to rest when I get back to the bivouac so I’m in good shape for tomorrow. It’s still only the beginning of the adventure! »
Mohammed Jaffar: « This was definitely one of the best rides I ever had on a motorbike. I had to look around and enjoy the landscape. »
Chaleco López: « Today was a very, very fast stage. It was also tricky with the navigation near the end, but we only lost a couple of minutes. »
Seth Quintero: « I had a really good start but then we got a flat. We’ve been unlucky with flats so far. After that I got back to pushing. At around 150km I got behind my team-mate Mitch (Guthrie) and I followed him in. It was good to be working as a team. »
Mitch Guthrie Jr.: « I had no issues today except for right at the end when I got lost a little bit and had to backtrack. Overall I’m really happy. We had no flat tyres and no problems with the OT3 today so we just kept moving. We ended up around second and tomorrow we’ll really push. »
Dmitry Sotnikov: « We got two punctures on the stage so after that we were nervous. After we passed the dunes everything got better for us. The end of stage was really difficult to navigate and I think our co-driver did a great job today. We did well to get through there without mistakes. »