Dakar Stage 4: Clean sweep at the top for Peugeot
Eleven-times Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel continued Peugeot’s dominance of this year’s event by leading home teammates Carlos Sainz and rally leader Sebastien Loeb, in yesterday’s marathon 419 km loop around the town of Jujuy in Argentina.
One of the few competitors to have won the event on both two and four wheels, Peterhansel’s slight 11 sec stage win over Sainz, no doubt helped by the Spaniard suffering a puncture near the end, also lifted him into second place overall, four min 48 secs behind Loeb.
After a slow start, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah continued his march up the field by clocking the fourth fastest time despite being nearly five minutes behind the three two-wheel drive 2008 DRK’s.
Five-time motorcycle winner Cyril Despres maintained his steady progress by crossing the line fifth ahead of the leading South African entered Toyota Hilux of Saudi Arabian driver, Yazeed Alrajhi.
One of the standout drivers of last year’s event, Alrajhi’s first appearance in the top ten was in stark contrast to that of teammate Giniel de Villiers, who lost over eight minutes due the high altitude (4 000 m) robbing his normally aspirated Hilux of power.
Similarly, the stage also proved tricky for Mikko Hirvonen with the former WRC driver only managing the 12th fastest time some 10 min behind Loeb.
In the overall standings, Al-Attiyah’s performance sees him moving up to third, while a seventh fastest stage time propelled Leeroy Poulter / Rob Howie in the third Gazoo Team South Africa Hilux to fourth ahead of Sainz.
De Villiers’ problems sees him to dropping from second to sixth, 13 min behind Loeb, with Hirvonen falling from fourth to seventh a further two minutes back. His fifth place finish sees Despres maintaining eighth place ahead of the two Overdrive Toyotas of Bernhard ten Brinke and Vladimir Vasilyev.
Among the remaining three South African crews, Mark Corbett / Juan Mohr netted the 31st fastest time in their Century CR5 buggy, four places ahead of teammates Colin Matthews / Rodney Barker netted, while Sean Reitz / Riaan Greyling crossed the line 48th in their Red Line Racing Nissan Navara.
This result has seen Corbett / Mohr moving up to 32nd position overall, two places ahead of Matthews / Barker with Reitz / Greyling moving up to 59th.
In the motorcycle section, Honda rider Pablo Goncalves benefitted from a speeding penalty handed to his teammate Juan Barreda, to emerge as the stage winner two min 35 secs ahead of factory Husqvarna rider Ruben Faria.
Argentine rookie Kevin Benavides maintained his impressive run by finishing the stage third ahead of Barreda and early leader Toby Price.
With yesterday’s overall leader Stefan Svitko only managing the 12th fastest time as a result of navigational problems, Goncalves now takes over the lead two min 17 secs ahead of Benavides, with Barreda making it a top three lockout for Honda.
Svitko’s difficulties drops him to fourth in front of Faria and KTM’s Matthias Walkner, with Price remaining seventh and followed by the second works Husqvarna of Pablo Quintanilla, young KTM rider Antoine Meo and Sherco’s Alain Duclos.
The marathon stage continues today with a 327 km special from Jujuy to the bivouac in Uyuni, Bolivia.
STAGE 4 - OVERALL STANDINGS (CARS)
|1.||Sebastien Loeb||Daniel Elena||FRA / MON||Peugeot||09:44:51|
|2.||Stephane Peterhansel||Jean-Paul Cottret||FRA / FRA||Peugeot||+00:04:48|
|3.||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Matthieu Baumel||QAT / FRA||Mini||+00:11:09|
|4.||Leeroy Poulter||Rob Howie||RSA / RSA||Toyota||+00:12:31|
|5.||Carlos Sainz||Lucas Cruz||ESP / ESP||Peugeot||+00:13:04|
|6.||Giniel de Villiers||Dirk von Zitzewitz||RSA / GER||Toyota||+00:13:19|
|7.||Mikko Hirvonen||Michel Perin||FIN / FRA||Mini||+00:15:42|
|8.||Cyril Despres||David Castera||FRA / FRA||Peugeot||+00:16:04|
|9.||Bernhard ten Brinke||Tom Colsoul||NLD / NLD||Toyota||+00:19:25|
|10.||Vladimir Vasilyev||Konstantin Zhiltsov||RUS / RUS||Toyota||+00:20:08|
STAGE 4 - OVERALL STANDINGS (BIKES)
IMAGE sourced from Dakar.com
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