Yamaha’s Van Beveren takes Dakar lead on stage four
Defending champion Sunderland abandons rally with back injury.
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Adrien Van Beveren won stage four of the 2018 Dakar Rally and took over the provisional lead of the event on Tuesday.
Van Beveren rode his WR450F Rally to victory on a challenging stage, which saw a mass-start on the beach of San Juan de Marcona before riders re-entered the deep sand dunes of the Peruvian desert to continue their 330km timed special.
Making full use of his starting position within the second group of riders, Van Beveren put his vast sand racing experience to good use, leading home teammate Xavier de Soultrait by five minutes, as Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner was third.
Walkner’s teammate Sam Sunderland, winner of last year’s Dakar and the in-form rider of this edition leading into stage four, was on course for another good result at this year’s event. Unfortunately, a crash two-thirds of the way through today’s stage forced the 2017 Dakar champion to abandon the rally with a compressed back.
After being penalised on stage three and then having it removed, top Australian Toby Price was 15th overall today, which now sees him sixth overall just over 10 minutes outside of the lead.
Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team) improved to 18th overall after logging the 21st quickest time on Tuesday, while third of the Australians Scott Britnell (Grit Adventures KTM) was 110th in the stage and is now 89th overall.
The 774km stage five of the 2018 Dakar Rally will be the second-longest of the event. A short liaison will lead riders from San Juan de Marcano into the 266km timed special, the majority of which will be made up of soft sand dunes.
After completing the special, a gruelling second liaison will take riders down the coast before heading inland and climbing to over 2000 metres above sea level to finish at the city of Arequipa.