Peterhansel sizzles while Alonso fizzles on Day 4 of Dakar

Stephane Peterhansel
Stephane Peterhansel

13-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel became the fourth different driver to top a stage in the 2020 Dakar Rally, as Nasser Al-Attiyah halved the gap to leader Carlos Sainz Sr.

Wednesday's Neom – Al-'Ula stage included the marathon's longest timed test so far at 281 miles, which was split by an 80km neutralized zone, and was completed by Peterhansel in just over four hours.

The 13-time Dakar champion was sixth in the starting order, but his X-raid Mini buggy was the third car to arrive at the finish line and he clocked the fastest time at all but the first checkpoint.

Further down the rankings, Toyota Gazoo Racing's Fernando Alonso showed none of the speed and bravery of the previous stage, with his pace fizzling out midway through this stage. He was to later finish Day Four some 26 minutes adrift of the stage winner, and thus dropping him to 16th overall on the general classification.

Peterhansel slowed his charge in the final kilometers to conserve his car, while Al Attiyah and Sainz threw caution to the wind in a bid to catch the Frenchman. However, it was too little too late: Peterhansel claimed his first stage victory in 2020 by nearly two-and-a-half minutes from Al Attiyah and with Sainz some five minutes further back.

This means Sainz still holds the overall lead of the Cars category, but that leads been squashed to only 03min 03sec – and, tantalizingly, had Al Attiyah not incurred that three-minute time penalty on Day Three, he would be only three seconds behind the Dakar Rally's leader.

Bikes

Ricky Brabec still leads
Ricky Brabec still leads

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.

Cornejo: "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 kilometer 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."

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 favorable 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 Castellon, 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.

Car Top-10 Stage 4

POS DRIVER TEAM CAR GAP
1 Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 4h04m34s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 2m26s
3 Carlos Sainz Sr. Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 7m18s
4 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 11m30s
5 Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 13m17s
6 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 18m16s
7 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 18m35s
8 Jakub Przygonski Orlen X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 19m23s
9 Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 22m22s
10 Pierre Lachaume PH-Sport Peugeot 22m53s


Overall Car Standings

POS DRIVER TEAM CAR GAP
1 Carlos Sainz Sr. Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 15h12m12s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m03s
3 Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 11m42s
4 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 23m10s
5 Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 23m13s
6 Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 26m55s
7 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 34m40s
8 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 44m40s
9 Martin Prokop MP Sports Ford 1h09m41s
10 Yasir Saeidan Race World Team Mini/BMW 1h30m25s
11 Benediktas Vanagas General Financing Team Pitlane Toyota 1h35m19s
12 Ronan Chabot Overdrive Toyota Toyota 1h41m55s
13 Pierre Lachaume PH-Sport Peugeot 1h59m41s
14 Wei Han Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team Hanwei/Geely 2h00m32s
15 Denis Krotov MSK Rally Team Mini/BMW 2h11m17s
16 Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 2h59m27s

Bikes Stage 4 Top-10

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 CORNEJO Jose Ignacio 17 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 04:24'51
2 BENAVIDES Kevin 7 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +00'35
3 EVAN BRANCH Ross 18 BWA BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM KTM +00'55
4 GONCALVES Paulo 8 POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +02'11
5 BRABEC Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +02'48
6 PRICE Toby 1 AUS KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +02'59
7 AUBERT Johnny 20 FRA Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +03'52
8 SUNDERLAND Sam 3 GBR KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +04'49
9 HOWES Skyler 59 USA Klymciw Racing KTM +04'52
10 SANTOLINO Lorenzo 24 SPA Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +06'24

Bikes Overall Top-10

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 BRABEC Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 15:06'43
2 BENAVIDES Kevin 7 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +02'30
3 CORNEJO Jose Ignacio 17 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +08'31
4 PRICE Toby 1 AUS KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +12'09
5 QUINTANILLA Pablo 5 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +17'52
6 SUNDERLAND Sam 3 GBR KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +19'11
7 BARREDA Joan 12 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +25'20
8 BENAVIDES Luciano 16 ARG KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +26'30
9 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +27'03
10 HOWES Skyler 59 USA Klymciw Racing KTM +34'28

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