Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Dakar Rally Stage Four Review

Stage four of the 2016 Dakar Rally was completed today and four competitors picked up their first stage victories of this year's edition.

Stéphane Peterhansel won stage four, the third consecutive stage victory for Peugeot. The Frenchman won by eleven seconds over Carlos Sainz with Sébastien Loeb making it a Peugeot 1-2-3, 27 seconds back of Peterhansel. Defending Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah finished four minutes and 57 seconds back in fourth. Cyril Despres rounded out the top five, five minutes and 44 seconds back.

Toyota drivers Yazeed Al-Rahji and Leeroy Poulter finished sixth and seventh. Al-Rahji was 15 seconds behind Despres and Poulter was 16 seconds behind his fellow Toyota driver. Mini drivers Nani Roma and Orlando Terranova finished eight and ninth. The Spaniard was seven minutes and ten seconds back of Peterhansel and Terranova was seven minutes and 43 seconds back of the stage winner. Robby Gordon rounded out the top ten. The American finished eight minutes and 43 seconds behind Peterhansel.

After four stages, Loeb continues to lead in the car class after the Frenchman won stages two and three. Peterhansel trails Loeb by four minutes and 48 seconds. Al-Attiyah is 11 minutes and nine seconds back in third. Poulter is 12 minutes and 31 seconds behind Loeb and Sainz rounds out the top five, 13 minutes and four seconds back. Giniel de Villiers and Mikko Hirvonen are sixth and seventh overall. They finished 11th and 12th respectively on stage four. Despres, prologue winner Bertnard ten Brinke and Russian Vladimir Vasilyev round out the top ten overall.

American Sheldon Creed is 24th, over an hour and five minutes back. Creed finished 17th on stage four. Gordon is 33rd, nearly an hour and 40 minutes behind Loeb. Gordon has accumulated an hour and four minutes in penalty time.

Paulo Gonçalves won stage four after Joan Barreda was handed a five-minute penalty. It was a Portuguese 1-2 with Ruben Faria finishing two minutes and 35 seconds behind Gonçalves. Argentine and stage three winner Kevin Benavides was third, two seconds behind Faria and Barreda finished fourth, three minutes and 11 seconds back after the penalty. Stage two winner Toby Price was third on the day, four minutes and a second behind Gonçalves.

French riders Antoine Meo and Michael Metge finished sixth and seventh. Meo was four minutes and 15 seconds back and Metge was a minute and five seconds behind Meo. Gerrard Farres Guell was eighth, three seconds behind Metge and American Ricky Brarbec was ninth, nine seconds behind Metge. Pablo Quintanilla rounded out the top ten, five minutes and 52 seconds back.

Gonçalves now leads overall, two minutes and 17 seconds ahead of Benavides and Barreda is three minutes and three seconds back. Štefan Svitko is fourth, five minutes and 22 seconds back. The Slovakian finished 12th on the day. Faria is two seconds behind Svitko and fifth overall. Austrian Matthias Walkner is sixth, seven minutes and eight seconds back and 48 seconds ahead of Price. Quintanilla, Meo and Alain Duclos round out the top ten.

Brabec is 17th, 18 minutes and 48 seconds back while Ian Blythe is 44th, over an hour back. Alexander Smith is 63rd, Scott Bright is 70th and Carroll Gittere is 92nd.

Marcos Patronelli won in the quad class by 16 seconds over Peruvian Alexis Hernandez and 25 seconds over prologue and stage two winner Ignacio Casale. Alejandro Patronelli finished three minutes and 49 seconds behind Marcos. Mohammed Abu-Issu rounded out the top five on the stage, four minutes and 12 seconds back.

Casale leads the quad class, 12 minutes and six seconds ahead of Brazilian debutant Marcelo Medeiros, who finished sixth on stage four. Alejandro Patronelli is third, 13 minutes and 52 seconds back and Hernandez is fourth, 15 minutes and 45 seconds back. Marcos Patronelli rounds out the top five overall, 17 minutes and 50 seconds back. Defending Dakar winner Rafeł Sonik is sixth overall, 19 minutes and 24 seconds behind Casale.

In the truck class, Gerard de Rooy took the stage four victory with fellow Dutchman Pieter Versluis finishing 37 seconds behind him in second. Stage two winner Hans Stacey made it a Dutch 1-2-3, finishing a minute and 18 seconds behind de Rooy. Argentine Federico Villagra finished fourth, a minute and 46 seconds back. Russian Eduard Nikolaev rounded out the top five, three minutes and 32 seconds behind de Rooy.

Versluis leads Stacey in the overall classification by 15 seconds. Villagra is third, two minutes and four seconds back. De Rooy trails Versluis by four minutes and 59 seconds in fourth. De Rooy has accumulated two minutes worth of penalties so far. Airat Mardeev rounds out the top five, nine minutes and 27 seconds back. Mardeev finished ninth on stage four, over five and a half minutes behind de Rooy.

Stage five of the Dakar Rally leaves Argentina. The teams will go from San Salvador de Jujuy to Uyuni, Bolivia.