Marking the first half of the 2019 Dakar Rally’s marathon stage, day four in Peru was another challenging one for all competitors. Setting off from Arequipa early in the morning, a short 85-kilometre liaison led into the two-part timed special. At 405 kilometres – the longest of the rally – the special consisted of soft dunes with many areas of dusty Fesh-Fesh leading into faster, hard-packed river beds. Riders had to take care to preserve their tyres on the faster sections while not losing too much time to their rivals. A short liaison then brought the riders to the temporary bivouac situated near Moquegua. As the marathon stage rules state, riders receive no outside assistance overnight, all maintenance must be carried out by themselves or by fellow competitors.
Despite a small crash in the latter half of the special, Toby Price put in a great ride to finish as third fastest, less than a minute down on the hard-charging Walkner. Still nursing his injured wrist, the Australian is looking forward to tomorrow’s slightly shorter stage five.
Toby Price: “That was tough today. It was a long stage and a lot of it was made up of rocky tracks and rivers, they are the worst for my wrist. I did have one get-off along the way but luckily not too bad. I’m not comfortable but it is the way it is and I have to work around it. The goal for the rest of the rally is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing and get the best result possible.”
Friday’s 776km stage five will see the first of two mass starts at this year’s event. Riders will set off motocross-style into the Ilo dunes as they contest the 345-kilometre timed special. As the day makes up the second half of the marathon stage, competitors will need to conserve their tyres and machines in order to arrive back at the bivouac safely.
Provisional Results Stage Four – 2019 Dakar Rally
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:40:30
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:46:49 +6:19
3. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 3:47:37 +7:07
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 3:52:05 +11:35
5. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:53:59 +13:29
Provisional Standings after Stage Four – 2019 Dakar Rally
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 12:33:00
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 12:35:19 +2:19
3. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 12:37:22 +4:22
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 12:38:45 +5:45
5. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 12:41:56 +8:56