Riding across the border from Argentina into Chile, covering more than 195 miles of special timed section, much of it through the Atacama Desert, the team HRC’s Joan Barreda claimed the top-spot for the day, extending his overall advantage over second-placed rider Marc Coma of Red Bull KTM to nearly 13 minutes. Coma finished Stage 4 in second position followed by Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla in third.
Riders tackled rocky mining tracks before descending into the sandy terrain of the Atacama after participants left Chilecito and faced a 369-mile connection before reaching the start of the timed portion. Coma’s teammate and Stage 3 winner, Matthias Walkner, opened the road but had the four-time Dakar champion close behind from the start. Coma wasted little time before getting the best of the Austrian rider, claiming the early stage lead. Barreda was pushing hard as well and by the first checkpoint, the Honda ace had made it up to second-position on the timesheet behind Coma.
As the day progressed, Barreda got ahead of Coma and proceeded to build a slight gap on the KTM ace. Barreda maintained his pace through the dunes during the final miles of the day and ended nearly two minutes faster than Coma. "I’m really pleased with today," said Barreda. "It was a really fast special and we had to really concentrate hard. I looked up ahead and when I saw it was Marc and not Walker, I really floored it to not let him get away. Everything has worked out really well up until now. To keep up with Marc’s pace and even to take time off him is not easy. But we will continue to try and stay comfortably ahead and not take any chances."
Barreda’s teammate, Paulo Goncalves, started the day second in the overall classification but struggled with Stage 4, ceding nearly 15 minutes to the front runner and dropping to third through four days. Walkner, too, found the day’s route especially challenging, losing time on the leaders during the initial portion of the stage and then later suffering a navigation error which cost him even more time. Walkner’s teammate, Toby Price, was fourth to start Stage 4 but soon after entering the timed portion the Australian rider fell victim to a navigation error of his own. He was able to find the right path and make it to the finish, but ends the day 16th on the timesheet, dropping him to seventh overall.
Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Viladoms took fourth in Stage 4, moving him to fifth overall while his teammate, Ruben Faria, finished the day in fifth. Faria and Sherco’s Alain Duclos got lost near the end of the stage, costing both riders valuable time. Team HRC’s Javier Pizzolito took sixth in the stage followed by Duclos in seventh. Team HRC’s Laia Sanz posted the best time among female riders, finishing the stage in eighth position. She now sits 12th overall.
Yamaha Factory riders continued to struggle, just breaking the top-10 for the day thanks to Michael Metge’s performance, which landed him 10th. His teammate, Alessandro Botturi, finished 11th while Oliver Pain ended in 23rd.
For us Rally fans this side of the world it comes as a grat news that Team Sherco-TVS Rider Alain Duclos came in 7th on the Stgae 4 Charts while he is running 9th in overall standings.
Dakar Rally 2015 Stage 4 Results
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 3:27:28
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 3:29:27
3. Pablo Quintanilla, CHL (KTM) 3:30:17
4. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 3:38:12
5. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 3:38:23
6. Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 3:38:57
7. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 3:40:19
8. Laia Sanz, ESP (Honda) 3:41:16
9. Ivan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 3:41:19
10. Michael Metge, FRA (Yamaha) 3:42:00
Dakar Rally 2015 Overall Rankings after Stage 4
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 13:10:33
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 13:23:22
3. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Honda) 13:31:02
4. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 13:33:38
5. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 13:35:24
6. Pablo Quintanilla, CHL (KTM) 13:41:15
7. Toby Price, AUS (KTM) 13:42:38
8. Matthias Walkner, AUT (KTM) 13:44:01
9. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 13:47:04
10. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 13:49:38
Watch the Video Review of the Stage 4 below: