DAKAR 2015 DAY 4: Nasser in charge after tough day
Mini driver Nasser Al-Attiyah further stamped his authority on this year’s event by winning a tough stage four over 315 km from Chilecito in Argentina, to Copiapo in Chile.
On a day which saw competitors complete a mammoth road section across the Andes mountains and into the unforgiving Chilean desert, Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel extended their overall lead over the Toyota Hilux of South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and German co-pilot Dirk von Zitzewits, to 8 min 15 sec, with the latter finishing the stage in third place, a mere 17 sec behind the sister Mini of defending champions Nani Roma and Michel Perin.
“It was a good day for us. We went a bit harder on the dunes towards the end of the stage,” Al-Attiyah told reporters at the end of stage, adding that he continues to remain wary of the chasing de Villiers.
“He is the man to beat, he's always very consistent in the Dakar, always near the top, so putting three minutes into him is great”.
Al-Attiyah’s teammate, third placed Orlando Terranova, saw his bid to close on de Villiers come to end after mechanical problems left him strandard after only 72 km. Similarly, fourth place man Carlos Sainz lost over seven hours after his Peugeot developed engine and turbo problems after completing 32 km of the stage.
In another day filled with mixed results for the returning French squad, who won the event four times previously between 1987 and 1990, eleven times champion Stefan Peterhansel completed the stage in fifth position behind the Toyota Hilux of impressive Saudi driver, Yazeed Alrajhi, while four wheels rookie Cyril Despres suffered a tough day in eventually managing to finish 66th, four hours 24 min 16 sec behind the leader.
Of the remaining South African teams in the car section, teammates to de Villiers / von Zitzewits, Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie recovered from losing over an hour on the previous day, to finishing the stage an excellent 12th while another consistent driver saw John van Staden and Mike Lawernson home in 42nd with their Nissan Navara.
In the motorcycle class, overall leader Joan Barreda also extended his lead over reigning champion, Marc Coma, by just under two minutes, with the Spanish KTM rider jumping up to second place in the overall standings after trouble befell Barreda’s Honda teammate, Paulo Goncalves, and surprise stage three winner, Matthias Walkner.
Third on the stage saw Chilean rider, Pablo Quintanilla, making his debut amongst the top riders while lady rider, Laia Sanz, also made her first appearance in the top 10 by finishing the stage in eighth place, 13 min 48 sec behind leader Barreda. Riaan van Niekerk remains the best placed South African in 16th position overall after completing the stage in 15th, 16 min 17 sec adrift of the leader.
Today’s stage will see competitors going further into the desert and the notorious dunes between Copiapo and Antofagsta, a total distance of 458 km.
STAGE 4 - OVERALL STANDINGS (CARS)
|1.||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Mathieu Baumel||QAT / FRA||Mini||12:30:44|
|2.||Giniel de Villiers||Dirk von Zitzewits||RSA / GER||Toyota||+00:08:15|
|3.||Yazeed Alrajhi||Timo Gottschalk||SAU / GER||Toyota||+00:23:33|
|4.||Bernhard ten Brinke||Tom Colsoul||NLD / BEL||Toyota||+00:42:32|
|5.||Krzysztof Holowczyc||Xavier Panseri||POL / FRA||Mini||+00:43:30|
|6.||Erik van Loon||Wouter Rosegaar||NLD / NLD||Mini||+00:45:14|
|7.||Carlos Sousa||Paulo Fiuza||POR / POR||Mitsubishi||+00:59:26|
|8.||Christian Lavieille||Pascal Maimon||FRA / FRA||Toyota||+01:00:44|
|9.||Aidyan Rakhimbayev||Anton Nikolaev||KAZ / RUS||Mini||+01:04:23|
|10.||Ronan Chabot||Gilles Pillot||FRA / FRA||SMG||+01:11:30|
STAGE 4 - OVERALL STANDINGS (BIKES)
IMAGE sourced from www.3news.co.nz
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