Dakar Rally – Stage Four
Joan Pedrero bags Sherco’s first Dakar Rally stage win while Cyril Despres loses time and Sam Sunderland’s rally comes to an end. Stage four has been eventful.
Stage 4 of the 2014 Dakar – the second half of the opening marathon stage – saw Juan Pedrero take his maiden win. But it was one that didn’t come easy. Early on it was Chaleco Lopez that led the way.
The Chilean rider went on the attack from the beginning and led the way at each CP. Even though it was not good enough for a twelfth Dakar stage win, his strong ride allowed him to claw back lots of time. But with a couple of mistakes from the Chilean, Pedrero positioned himself perfectly to claim the win.
Meanwhile, rally leader Joan Barreda lost precious minutes due to a navigation error – although he managed to limit the damage by pushing his motorcycle hard towards the end to finish the stage in sixth – nearly 14 minutes behind Pedrero. He now holds a slim lead in the general classification just three minutes and 10 seconds ahead of Marc Coma.
With Coma consistent in third, Chilean Israel Esquerre – Speedbrain – was a new name to grace the top five leader board by finishing the stage in fourth with Olivier Pain fifth.
But the fourth day of the 2014 Dakar was also a rude awakening for some of the big names, including the defending champion himself. Cyril Despres maintained an ideal pace throughout most of the stage but dropped back with about 12 kilometres to go and could only watch as his rivals and other nearby riders disappear into the distance.
The five-time winner now has a 41-minute deficit to Barreda in the general classification. With a history of amazing comebacks, it is too early to write Despres off, but his task has just become even more difficult than he had imagined.
A real downer for sure, but Despres was still luckier than stage 2 winner Sam Sunderland, who had to give up after the engine of his Honda broke down. An engine failure prior to the start of today’s stage four has left him stranded and out of the race.
After such an incredible start to the race, it’s a bitter blow to be dealt with. Sometimes the Dakar can be a cruel mistress.
Results – Dakar Rally Stage 4
1, Joan Pedrero, ESP, Sherco 5 hours 29.13
2, Chaleco Lopez, CHL, KTM at 00.29
3, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 2.41
4, Israel Esquerre, CHL, Speedbrain
5, Olivier Pain, FRA, Yamaha
6, Joan Barreda, ESP, Honda at 13.56
Overall after Stage 4
1, Barreda 15 hours 39.53
2, Coma at 3.10
3, Lopez at 5.12
4, Duclos at 22.55
5, Pain at 29.55