Day 4 for the bike class was about what would be expected this year with the two KTM bike riders leading the way. Coma won Stage 4, which is to be expected because he has to push to catch up with Despres who started the day with a 10 minute lead. Despres did not have to push but he can not lay back too much as there is still a lot of time for Coma to claw back those 10 minutes. At the end of the day, Coma did manage to take back two of those 10 minutes thereby reducing Despres’ overall lead to just over 8 minutes. These two riders are clearly the class of the field and will likely duke it out for the entire rally, if mechanical difficulties don’t interfere.
Verhoeven on his Sherco continues to impress and finished third on the stage and now lies seventh Overall.
|Results: Bikes Stage 4|
|Results:Overall Bikes After Stage 4|
The car class saw a major change in the Overall standings as a result of problems that the Hummer team had. Nasser Al-Attiyah was making great time on the stage, gaining on everybody, but then near the end of the stage Al-Attiyah’s Hummer got stuck in the mud and eventually had to be pulled out by his Hummer team mate, Robby Gordon. Robby Gordon had other problems on Stage 4 with his alternator and a puncture. The result was that both Gordon and Al-Attiyah lost a great deal of time with Gordon finishing over 18 minutes behind Stage 4 winner Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah was almost 27 minutes behind the stage winner.
Robby Gordon’s Hummer
The result is that Gordon is now 16:23 behind the Overall leader Peterhansel in fifth place. This is getting to the point where it will be a challenge for Gordon to drive his way to the front and he will need some sort of misfortune to happen to Peterhansel. Al-Attiyah is much further in the hole and definitely needs those in front of him to falter.
The other interesting factor to me is the emergence at the top of the standings of the unheralded South African Toyota team. De Villiers certainly has the Dakar experience to win, if the Toyota has the mechanical stamina.
Holowczyc had a very disappointing day in his MINI. He started Day 4 as the Overall leader, but he ended the day in 5th place Overall, almost 11 minutes behind the new leader, Peterhansel in another MINI.
|Results: Cars Stage 4|
|Results: Overall Cars After Stage 4|
No matter what the drivers do, they are going to have to find a way to beat Stephane Peterhansel and that will not be easy.