- Stage 4
- San Juan > Chilecito
- Connection 59 km
- Special stage 352 km
- Connection 151 km
- Total 562 km
Until just before today’s finish line Cyril Despres (Yamaha Factory Racing) was holding the overall lead of the 2014 Dakar Rally. Then 9 kilometres from the end the support holding his Iritrack broke, causing a short circuit in the electrical system that brought his bike to a halt.
The ex-mechanic battled for an agonising 40 minutes to find and repair the problem and finally finished in 16th place and is this evening in 6th place overall, 41’17 behind the leader Barreda. Michael Metge, Cyril Despres’s support rider finished in 38th place after getting lost at km 247.
“Everything was going perfectly and the strategy I’d devised with Mika and our tyre swap was paying off handsomely. 170 kilometres from the end I was riding with Marc (Coma) and Joan (Barreda) and shortly after that Marc and I managed to break away and I became the virtual overall leader. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed but I’ve been here before and still reached the top of the final podium. It would have been so easy to have abandoned out in the special and catch the next plane home, but I love this race, I love riding my bike and most of all I love a challenge. And as long as I believe I have a fighting chance I’ll do exactly that – keep fighting.”
“Just like Cyril’s, my day was going really well. The bike felt good and I was in form and was thinking that with all the navigation Cyril is going to pull back some time. Then at kilometre 247 there was a modification to the road book and you had to find a piste on the left. Except the rain had washed it away and I took the wrong Rio. Unfortunately the next note was 25 kilometres later on, which meant that in total I rode 50 kilometres extra through big rocks and lost a load of time.”
General Dakar 2014 ranking stage 4
- BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA 15:39:53 –
- COMA (ESP) KTM 15:43:03 00:03:10
- LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) KTM 15:45:05 00:05:12
6. DESPRES (FRA) YAMAHA 16:21:10 00:41:17