2018 Dakar Rally: Stage 3 & 4 Highlights
What you need to know to catch up on Stage 3 and 4 of the 2018 Dakar Rally…
Sam Sunderland has set a record by winning the second stage victory in three days. The British KTM-mounted defending champion won the stage between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona, taking back the top of the Overall standings. Already a winner of the prologue, Sunderland has travelled the 296km of the stage in three hours 20 minutes and 43 seconds, ahead of the Argentine Honda’s Kevin Benavides of 3 minutes and 3 seconds. Third was Australian Toby Price (at 3 minutes and 28 seconds). It was a bad day for Matthias Walkner and Adrien Van Beveren, who were 13 minutes behind the lead rider.
The longest stage of the event so far, comprising a 296km special followed by a 208km liaison, proved difficult for many of the competitors today. Good navigation was paramount as well as overall speed. Using his experience, KTM 450 Rally-mounted Sam Sunderland moved up through the order as the day went on. Riding consistently, Sunderland posted the fastest time of just over three hours and 20 minutes.
2016 Dakar champion Toby Price was flying straight from the start of stage 3’s timed special test. The Australian placed second at the first waypoint, just nine seconds behind team-mate Sunderland. A crash three quarters of the way into the stage cost him a few minutes, but Price continued, eventually posting the third fastest time.
Toby Price: “Everything felt really good today. I was really comfortable on the bike. I knew my pace was good and so I kept on pushing. I did come off the bike after a big drop-off from one of the dunes around the 140km mark. Luckily, I didn’t damage myself or the bike too much. The road-book got filled with sand though, so for the rest of the stage I had to just ease of the pace a little. One of the worst things was that I lost the end to my Camelbak in the crash and wasn’t able to keep hydrated towards the finish. Apart from that, everything was good. You can see on days like today how important it is to stay focused and not make any mistakes. Hopefully I can keep up the same performance for the rest of the rally.”
With the stage win, reigning Dakar champion Sunderland also moves to the top of the Overall standings, more than four minutes ahead of the next placed rider.
Provisional Results Stage 3 – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 3:20:43
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:23:46 +3:03
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:24:38 +3:55
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 3:25:03 +4:20
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 3:25:51 +5:08
10. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:29:11 +8:28 (5min penalty)
Provisional Standings after Stage 3 – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 6:44:23
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 6:49:01 +4:38
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 6:49:23 +5:00
4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 6:52:23 +8:00
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 6:53:13 +8:50
8. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 6:56:51 +12:28 (5min penalty)
Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren had the perfect day. The French Yamaha-backed rider has won the special test and jumped to the top of the standings, climbing seven positions. The stage saw the withdrawal of KTM’s Sam Sunderland. The KTM pilot suffered a back injury and was air-lifted to hospital in Lima. Yamaha rider Xavier de Soultrait claimed second, and KTM’s Matthias Walkner came home in third.
Following the mass-start on the beach of San Juan de Marcona, riders re-entered the deep sand dunes of the Peruvian desert to continue their 330km timed special. Riding in a group meant navigation and maintaining a consistent pace were difficult due to the dust kicked up by the leading bikes. With many riders finding one particular waypoints difficult to locate, positions changed throughout the course of the stage. After leading the group at the beginning of the special, Matthias Walkner dropped some time after getting lost in the deep dunes. Eventually the Austrian managed to find his way and was able to make up some of the time he lost. Crossing the line in third, Matthias was happy with his day, despite the difficulty of the stage.
Toby Price and Antoine Meo both started in the first group away at the beginning of the special stage. The team-mates shared a similar pace throughout the day and despite both losing their way a little around the midway point, the pair were able to get back on track and arrive at the finish safely. Price crossed the line in 15th position, 11 minutes down on the leader. This result moves him down to sixth in the overall standings, but the Australian is still confident for the rest of the race.
Toby Price: “That was the most difficult day so far. We thought by starting in a group it would be like a nice day out riding with your friends but as soon as we got to the dunes, the going got really tough. The worst thing was the sand was really unpredictable – there were loads of soft patches that were hard to see and if you were the first rider to hit them you ended up dropping right back. The group I was in missed a waypoint so we lost a fair amount of time getting back on track. As a positive I finished the stage in one piece, I’m in a good start position for tomorrow so I’ll crack on and see if I can claw back some time then.”
Rodney Faggotter – “I had a good day with no crashes. For me it was another normal stage, navigation was tricky in some points but it all went well and I made no mistakes. The beach start was pretty crazy but then I got off to a good pace, which I retained until the finish of the timed special. I had a lot of dust during the day so that was one extra reason to remain focused and not take any risks. The bike is running great and I’m looking forward to the coming days.”
Provisional Results Stage 4 – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 4:08:23
2. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 4:13:24 +5:01
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:15:33 +7:10
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 4:15:55 +7:32
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 4:16:08 +7:45
15. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 4:21:46 +13:23
21. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), YAMAHA
Provisional Standings after Stage 4 – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 11:03:23
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 11:05:18 +1:55
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 11:06:38 +3:15
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 11:08:46 +5:23
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 11:10:57 +7:34
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 11:13:37 +10:14
18. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), YAMAHA