The fourth stage of the 2012 Dakar began today, with competitors racing over a 326km special stage, which saw Stephane Peterhansel snatching the victory from Juan Roma.
Roma kicked off proceedings and was the first driver to finish the first section of the course. However, soon Nasser Al-Attiyah surged through checkpoint one, smashing Roma’s time by two and a half minutes. Peterhansel would soon post the second fastest time at checkpoint one, 41 seconds behind Al-Attiyah.
By the second checkpoint, Al-Attiyah had increased his lead to three minutes and nine seconds over Peterhansel. Things would soon change for the defending champ who stopped his Hummer after 288km. His teammate would soon stop to help him before Al-Attiyah got going again after being stationary for roughly 15 minutes.
Thanks to his problems, Roma would be the first driver to finish the stage, but soon Peterhansel came home with the fastest time, over five minutes ahead of the second place driver. Local star Giniel de Villiers finished in third place, six minutes and 42 seconds off the pace.
Cyril Despres kicked things off for the bikes but by the first checkpoint, Marc Coma had a one minute and 15 second lead over Despres. Coma really pulled out all the stops and by the second checkpoint his lead had grown to nearly four minutes. By the end, Coma had taken the win but Despres had clawed back sometime. Still, Coma won by just over two minutes, undoing some of the damage from his mistake yesterday.
On the quad bikes Pablo Copetti started things off but soon suffered from technical problems. By checkpoint one it was Tomas Maffei in the lead, despite a navigational error. The second fastest rider was Alejandro Patronelli, although he was nearly four minutes behind. By the second checkpoint he had stretched his lead to well over five minutes, so it was hardly a surprise that he would win the stage. By the end of it all, Maffei had a lead of five minutes and 33 seconds over Alejandro, with his brother Marcos in third.
Yesterday’s winner, Miki Biasion kicked things off for the trucks but by the first checkpoint it was Gerard de Rooy who had a small lead, just 15 seconds. By the second checkpoint he had managed to increase his lead to nearly two minutes over Biasion. He managed to push hard during the final stages and was able to win the stage by over a minute, with Hans Stacey coming home in second place.
Dakar 2012 - results after stage 4 San Juan - Chilecito
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