Today’s Dakar Rally story started off quite badly when I learned that yet another Dakar Rally competitor has died during the event. It was reported that Polish motorcycle rider, Michal Hernik, had been found dead on Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally. The 39-year-old rider was discovered 300 metres from the track on Stage 3. The cause of death is unknown as Hernik and his bike did not show any external signs of an accident. As you all know this is a very difficult rally, and probably the bike competitors have the toughest time of it with the heat, the stress of riding the bike, and having to do the navigation as well. As any motorcyclist will tell you, it is very difficult to relax on a motorcycle because there is always something to do that requires a certain level of concentration. Hernik was competing in his first Dakar Rally and was in 84th place in the Bike Class. Unfortunately more than 50 competitors and spectators having lost their lives since the Dakar Rally’s inception in 1979.
Today’s Stage 4 from Chilecito to Copiapo is shown below. The competitive portion for today is shown in red. The green portion is the transit section.
Stage 4 Route
As I noted before, if anyone wants to win the Car Class, then they are going to have to find a way to beat Nasser Al-Attiyah. Or maybe you just hope that he beats himself. Today Al-Attiyah won another stage finishing 2 minutes 40 seconds ahead of Nani Roma. However Roma is so far behind in the Overall Standings that his stage time is almost meaningless. The key for Al-Attiyah is that he beat third place finisher DeVilliers by almost 3 minutes. Devilliers is in second place overall and is Al-Attiyah’s real competition.
Nasser Al-Attiyah Winning Stage 4
The results for the top 10 finishers on Stage 4 are shown below.
2015 Dakar Rally Car Class Stage 4 Results
|1||AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)BAUMEL (FRA)||MINI||03:09:18||–|
|2||ROMA (ESP)PERIN (FRA)||MINI||03:11:58||00:02:40|
|3||DE VILLIERS (ZAF)VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||03:12:15||00:02:57|
|4||ALRAJHI (SAU)GOTTSCHALK (DEU)||TOYOTA||03:12:43||00:03:25|
|5||PETERHANSEL (FRA)COTTRET (FRA)||PEUGEOT||03:15:06||00:05:48|
|6||TEN BRINKE (NLD)COLSOUL (BEL)||TOYOTA||03:15:28||00:06:10|
|7||CHABOT (FRA)PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||03:20:41||00:11:23|
|8||LAVIEILLE (FRA)MAIMON (FRA)||TOYOTA||03:26:24||00:17:06|
|9||POULTER (ZAF)HOWIE (ZAF)||TOYOTA||03:26:35||00:17:17|
|10||VAN LOON (NLD)ROSEGAAR (NLD)||MINI||03:26:49||00:17:31|
I was looking at the list of the top 10 competitors in the Car Class and I noticed that there seems to be a changing of the field this year at the Dakar Rally. Once you look below DeVilliers in second place, the names in the top 10, at least after 4 stages, are not the names that I thought would be in the top 10. It is still relatively early, but at the completion Stage 4, the rally is about 30% complete, so some patterns are beginning to have some legitimacy.
2015 Dakar Rally Car Class Standings After Stage 4
|1||AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)BAUMEL (FRA)||MINI||12:30:44||–||00:02:00|
|2||DE VILLIERS (ZAF)VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||12:38:59||00:08:15||–|
|3||ALRAJHI (SAU)GOTTSCHALK (DEU)||TOYOTA||12:54:17||00:23:33||–|
|4||TEN BRINKE (NLD)COLSOUL (BEL)||TOYOTA||13:13:16||00:42:32||–|
|5||HOLOWCZYC (POL)PANSERI (FRA)||MINI||13:14:14||00:43:30||–|
|6||VAN LOON (NLD)ROSEGAAR (NLD)||MINI||13:15:58||00:45:14||–|
|7||SOUSA (PRT)FIUZA (PRT)||MITSUBISHI||13:30:10||00:59:26||–|
|8||LAVIEILLE (FRA)MAIMON (FRA)||TOYOTA||13:31:28||01:00:44||–|
|9||RAKHIMBAYEV (KAZ)NIKOLAEV (RUS)||MINI||13:35:07||01:04:23||00:00:30|
|10||CHABOT (FRA)PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||13:42:14||01:11:30||–|
Further back in the field, today Robby Gordon finished in 47th position, one hour and twenty-three minutes behind Al-Attiyah. Gordon is now in 39th position overall, 5 hours and 47 minutes behind the leader. The Canadian team of Benasdoun/Beaule finished five positions ahead of Robby Gordon today and are now in 42nd position, 6 hours and thirty-eight minutes behind the leader.
It looks like the Bike Class in the 2015 is becoming a battle between Barreda’s Honda and Coma’s KTM. Today, Barreda won the stage and finished 2 minutes ahead of Coma.
Joan Barreda Finding Water On Stage 4
The results of the top 10 finishers in the Bike Class today are shown below. You might not know that the Honda that finished in eighth position today is ridden by a woman. However she is an experienced rider and this is not her first Dakar Rally. She was only three minutes from fourth place.
2015 Dakar Rally Bike Class Stage 4 Results
|1||BARREDA BORT (ESP)||HONDA||03:27:28||–|
|7||DUCLOS (FRA)||SHERCO TVS||03:40:19||00:12:51|
|8||SANZ PLA-GIRIBERT (ESP)||HONDA||03:41:16||00:13:48|
You can’t help but notice that the KTM team is very powerful, putting five bikes in the top 10.
Marc Coma Is Charging To The Front
The overall Bike Class standings after Stage 4 are shown below.
2015 Dakar Rally Bike Class Standings After Stage 4
|1||BARREDA BORT (ESP)||HONDA||13:10:33||–|
|9||DUCLOS (FRA)||SHERCO TVS||13:47:04||00:36:31|