After a strong show during stage 3 of the Dakar 2018, Sherco-TVS Rally Factory’s Juan Pedrero Garcia improved upon his performance to finish Stage 4 in the 17th position, 13 minutes and 32 seconds behind the leader. The 444 km long stage took KTM’s Sam Sunderland as its victim, who had triumphed at the 2017 Dakar as the overall winner in the bikes category. While searching for the second control waypoints, Sunderland landed heavily in a big hole, the impact compressing his spine. He tried to continue with the pain for another 5 km, but a loss of sensation in his legs made him stop and request for medical assistance. The 2017 Dakar winner’s exit leaves KTM’s fortunes resting with Toby Price and Matthias Walkner as the Austrian bike maker pursues an 18th-straight victory at the event.
The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally camped itself in San Juan De Marcona for one more day of dunes and navigation. It turned out to be a very tough stage for the competitors with hidden waypoints and difficult terrain. The stage offered a changed landscape and a different kind of start to break the mould. It started on the beachfront in a mass start format with 15 bikes per set. After this sprint along the beach, the competitors were challenged to tackle one of the longest sandy sections ever in the history of the Dakar, a total of 100 km with dunes of all sizes making up a total stage run of 444km including the special stage of 330 km.
Sherco-TVS’ Aravind KP finished the stage in 44th, 58 minutes and 42 seconds behind Yamaha’s Adrian Van Beveren who was at the finish line after 4 hours, 8 minutes and 23 seconds. This performance has resulted in Aravind slipping four places in the overall classification and is now ranked 33rd, against the 29th position which he held after Stage 3.
On the other hand, both the Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders pushed hard to overcome this tough stage for the team. Oriol Mena continued his fine form of yesterday to begin the stage well but lost some time in finding a waypoint in the later part of the stage. He finished the stage in the 33rd position, which now places him in the 24th position in the overall rankings.
CS Santosh came out with a purpose and rode hard to cover a lot of positions today despite a nasty crash because of a rock hidden inside a fesh-fesh. But he is doing okay and has gained over 40 positions on his overnight ranking of 98, to finish the stage and overall at 56th place. The next stage will see the rally moving to Arequipa where competitors will tackle the sands of Tanaka and a 30 or so km of mountain dune sections making up the longest stage yet, with 774 kms to be covered including the liaison.
Stage 4 Classifications
1. Adrian Van Beren Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 04h 08m 23s
2. Xavier De Soultrait Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +05m 01s
3. Matthais Walkner RedBull KTM Factory Racing +07m 10s
17. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +13m 32s
33. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +40m 55s
44. Aravind Prabhakar Sherco TVS Rally Factory +58m 42s
56. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +1h 21m 40s
Overall Classifications after Stage 4
1. Adrian Van Beren Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 11h 03m 23s
2. Pablo Quintannila Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing +01m 55s
3. Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team +03m 15s
17. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +35m 31s
24. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally +01H 00m 46s
33. Aravind Prabhakar Sherco TVS Rally Factory 01h 51m 49s
56. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +03h 27m 31s