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2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win

Author: Garry Morrow

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2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Following a tough day yesterday on stage three, Ricky Brabec rebounded strongly on stage 4 to take the win and overall lead. Photo: DPPI
Monster Energy Honda Team‰Ûªs American rider Ricky Brabec staged an authentic coup d‰ÛªÌ©tat at the fourth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally, not only battling to victory on the day, but also storming the first place spot on the overall leader board.

Matthias Walkner rebounded from a shocker on yesterday's third stage to take second while Australian Toby Price kept his consistent momentum going with the third fastest time.

Setting off from Arequipa early in the morning, a short 85-kilometre liaison led into the two-part timed special. At 405 kilometres ‰ÛÒ the longest of the rally ‰ÛÒ the special consisted of soft dunes with many areas of dusty Fesh-Fesh leading into faster, hard-packed river beds. Riders had to take care to preserve their tyres on the faster sections while not losing too much time to their rivals.


A short liaison then brought the riders to the temporary bivouac situated near Moquegua. As the marathon stage rules state, riders receive no outside assistance overnight. All maintenance must be carried out by themselves or fellow competitors.

After getting lost on Wednesday, Monster Energy Honda's Ricky Brabec more than made up for it Tacna. The American was victorious on completion of the first marathon stage and also moved into the lead in the general standings.

‰ÛÏI needed it. Yesterday was tough on me and I lost a lot of time," Brabec said. "Today I really, really needed to push with the marathon night and motocross start tomorrow. It kind of helps me because tomorrow I can kind of just hang back and have the stage under my control and finish where I want. With the motocross start it makes it easy to manage. That‰Ûªs my plan for tomorrow and I‰Ûªm really happy with today and getting the stage win as well as making up a bit of time. I put a hole in my rear tyre so I maybe need to change that with my team-mate Nacho Conejo. But other than that, the bike didn‰Ûªt touch the ground. My body is still 100%, the bike is still 100%. We'll go back and do a quick review of the bike and then put it to sleep for the night".
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Defending champions Matthias Walkner was another to make a strong come back from a bad stage three by claiming second fastest today on stage four. Photo: Marcin Kin
Following his challenging stage three, Matthias Walkner was the 15th rider to enter the day‰Ûªs timed special. Immediately pushing hard and making the most of his experience to catch and pass riders ahead of him, the 2018 Dakar Champion maintained his strong pace throughout the day on the fast, treacherous route. A heavy landing from one drop-off caused Walkner to hurt his ankle slightly but the Austrian rider was able to continue to complete the stage and finish as runner-up.

‰ÛÏThe day was good for me ‰ÛÒ the bike is running well and I didn‰Ûªt crash at all today." Walkner said. "I did land quite hard from one jump and thought I might have injured my ankle but it seems to be ok. It‰Ûªs great here in the bivouac, we are all here together as one team and that feels good. I managed to get some time back in the overall today, so I‰Ûªll aim to do the same tomorrow.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Australian Toby Price admitted it was another tough day with his wrist injury but was strong enough for third on stage. Photo: Marcin Kin
Despite a small crash in the latter half of the special, Toby Price put in a great ride to finish as third fastest, less than a minute down on the hard-charging Walkner. Still nursing his injured wrist, the Australian is looking forward to tomorrow‰Ûªs slightly shorter stage five.

‰ÛÏThat was tough today. It was a long stage and a lot of it was made up of rocky tracks and rivers, they are the worst for my wrist," Price explained. "I did have one get-off along the way but luckily not too bad. I‰Ûªm not comfortable but it is the way it is and I have to work around it. The goal for the rest of the rally is to keep on doing what I‰Ûªve been doing and get the best result possible.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Sam Sunderland placed fourth and now also lies fourth in the provisional overall standings. Photo: Marcin Kin
Fifth away at the start of the stage, Sam Sunderland maintained a strong pace throughout the day, despite losing touch with many of the riders ahead of him and navigating his own way through the fast 405-kilometre stage. The British rider ultimately placed fourth and now also lies fourth in the provisional overall standings.

‰ÛÏThe day started off on some wide-open plains, which was nice," Sunderland said. "But then they had us go through some really technical stuff, which turned out to be really tricky. I dropped the bike at one point in a ravine and had some trouble getting it to point in the right direction again, but apart from that everything was good. I had to focus to keep my pace at the end there, but I‰Ûªm happy with my result and looking forward to tomorrow.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Yamalube Yamaha Rally's Adrien Van Beveren had the fifth quickest time for the day, the WR450F Rally powered rider is now fifth overall. Photo: Yamaha Racing
Racing without the pressure of the opening stages, Yamalube Yamaha Rally's Adrien Van Beveren remained fast and consistent from start to finish. Posting the fifth quickest time for the day, the WR450F Rally powered rider is now fifth overall and less than nine minutes behind the provisional overall leader.

"Everything is going well for me so far and I'm feeling good on the bike," the Frenchman said. "The terrain was not so much to my liking today but I managed to enjoy the stage. The pressure I felt in the opening stages is now gone and I can just focus on my goals for every stage. I'm happy I've reached that point and from now on I can just do my own race. Today we rode over some dry river beds and there was a lot of fesh-fesh. The pace was high and I was able to ride well. We've made some good work this year with my bike setup and it gives me great confidence in this kind of terrain. I want to continue pushing for some good results in the stages to come."
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Paulo Gon̤alves continues to improve in the 2019 edition of the Dakar after a spleen operation just a month ago and finished 6th onstage today.
Monster Energy Honda Team's Paulo Gon̤alves continues to improve in the 2019 edition of the Dakar after a spleen operation just a month ago. The Portuguese rider finished with the sixth fastest time of the day and lies in eighth in the general standings.

"Yeah, I'm quite happy. We have done four stages and 40 percent of the 2019 Dakar and I have made to the marathon stage well, in good health and in a good position," Gon̤alves said. "Today I pressed hard until the refuelling through the river area which had plenty of stones. I was very careful. I'm happy because every day I feel better and closer to full fitness. Now let's try to fight the remaining days of the race."

Stefan Svitko again impressed finishing in 7th place ahead of Honda's Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Kevin Benavides was 9th on stage today and remains in contention with 6th in the general classification and a 9 minute deficit to the leader.
A little off the summit of the general standings in 6th place, but only 9 minutes behind the new leader Ricky Brabec, Kevin Benavides, 9th on stage 4 today, has completed the first part of the marathon stage in confident mood.

‰ÛÏToday we changed a lot ‰ÛÒ it was completely different terrain with more stones and hard parts," the Argentinean said. "It was really different with a lot of fesh-fesh. It was really difficult to follow another rider. But at the end it was good, although I made a little mistake with just one way point. But after that it was good. I rode slowly and fast‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
Leader going into the stage, Pablo Quintanilla ,dropped to second after a bad day with navigation saw him come in with the 14th best time on the special stage. Photo: DPPI
Pablo Quintanilla battled through the day‰Ûªs tough navigation to post the 14th best time on the special stage. The result dropped the Chilean from first to second in the provisional overall, two minutes and 19 seconds behind the provisional overall leader Ricky Brabec.

Yesterday's stage 3 winner Xavier de Soultrait had the demanding task of opening the stage for all following competitors. Xavier earned a 15th place result on stage and is now ninth and the second Yamaha powered rider inside the top 10 in the provisional overall standings.

Australian Ben Young (Duust Rally Team) and James Ferguson, sit in 78th and 101st place overall

Friday‰Ûªs 776km stage five will see the first of two mass starts at this year‰Ûªs event. Riders will set off motocross-style into the Ilo dunes as they contest the 345-kilometre timed special. As the day makes up the second half of the marathon stage, competitors will need to conserve their tyres and machines in order to arrive back at the bivouac safely.
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win
After a bad day yesterday, Ricky Brabec was all smiles today after taking the race lead and stage win.
Dakar Rally 2019 - Race Schedule
Stage 1 | Jan 7 | Lima to Pisco | SS: 84km | Total: 331km
Stage 2 | Jan 8 | Pisco to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 342km | Total: 554km
Stage 3 | Jan 9 | San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa | SS: 331km | Total: 779km
Stage 4 | Jan 10 | Arequipa to Moquegua | SS: 352km | Total: 511km
Stage 5 | Jan 11 | Moquegua to Arequipa | SS: 345km | Total: 776km
Rest Day | Jan 12 | Arequipa
Stage 6 | Jan 13 | Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 317km | Total: 839km
Stage 7 | Jan 14 | San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 323km | Total: 387km
Stage 8 | Jan 15 | San Juan de Marcona to Pisco | SS: 361km | Total: 576km
Stage 9 | Jan 16 | Pisco to Pisco | SS: 313km | Total: 410km
Stage 10 | Jan 17 | Pisco to Lima | SS: 112km | Total: 358km
2019 Dakar Stage 4: Ricky Brabec Takes General Classification Lead With Stage Four Win

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