Stage 4 of the 2018 Dakar – with the longest special stage so far – has taken its toll on many riders including defending champion Sam Sunderland.
Sunderland (Red Bull KTM) has been evacuated by helicopter with a serious back injury.
- STAGE 4: San Juan de Marcona / San Juan de Marcona
- Liaison > 114 km km – Special > 330 km
He was apparently searching for a control point when he hit a big hole.
KTM manager Alex Doringer said “He felt a sharp pain in his back immediately, but carried on for another 5km before stopping again due to the pain and a lack of feeling in his legs.”
He said that “the feeling in his legs has returned, but he will now be transferred to Lima for more tests”.
Sunderland’s exit left the way clear for Yamaha rider Adrien van Beveren to take the win in today’s stage, putting him back on top of the overall rankings.
Meanwhile Toby Price (Red Bull KTM) continues to be the best placed of the Australians despite dropping time in today’s special.
A 15th place today – 13min 23sec behind Adrien van Beveren – has dropped him to 6th overall with a total time difference of 10 min 14 sec.
And while rumours and reports of a 5 minute penalty are still circulating, no mention of the penalty has appeared on the official rankings.
Fellow Australian Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) appears to like the number 21!
Rod was 21st overall at the end of Stage 3 yesterday, and a 21st place today has moved him up to 18th overall.
At the time of writing Scott Britnell (KTM) was yet to finish the stage but was progressing well.
Scott has been riding consistently through each stage and finding his way in his first Dakar.
Doing it all by himself with no support crew, Scott not only has to ride each day but then faces the daunting tasks of preparing both himself and his bike for the next day each night – as well get some rest.
Trevor Wilson, who is at the Dakar watching Scott compete, says Scott is very focussed, feeling well and is “super organised and has a really good system”.
Trevor himself is gaining a lot of experience watching the event progress and was interviewed on the international TV coverage of the Dakar yesterday.
Trevor, who came 13th in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge last year, plans on competing in the Dakar next year and says the knowledge he is gaining as an observer will assist his preparation greatly.
Top 5 after Stage 4
- 1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team)
- 2. Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) – 00:01:55
- 3. Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team) – 00:03:15
- 4. Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:04:23
- 5. Xavier De Soultrait (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team) – 00:07:34
- 6. Toby Price (KTM) – 00:10:14
- 18. Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) – 00:40:33
- TBA. Scott Britnell (KTM)