- 5th January
- Liaison Sections: 107 km
- Racing Stage: 518 Km
- Total Distance: 625 Km
What happened Sunday 4th Jan:
It was a long and dusty stage, absolutely flat out! The route ran mostly between farms with long straights and sharp corners, pretty much like road racing on dirt. Red Bull KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland took the win covering the 175Km special in a staggering 1 hour 18 minutes. Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk went off the road and crashed heavily. He emerged relatively unscathed, with some bruises, but got back on track to finish the day in 22nd. Gonzalves picked up a 7 minute penalty for speeding.
A staggering 518 Km’s, the longest single special in the rally, proved to be a really tough day for most, with soaring temperatures of up to 42 degrees celcius. The stage started out with some some twisty mountain road stages, then the route turned into more sandy, desert kind of terrain. Some wide open roads followed with lots of dust, Riaan topped his 450 KTM out at 175 Km/h, it was absolutely flat out until refuel two. From there on the route was more challenging with lots of fesh fesh, with ruts and narrow winding tracks between the bushes, then sandy whooped out sections of around 60 Km’s in total to the finish.
It was a Honda one two today with Barreda winning the stage ahead of Paulo Gonzalves. Red Bull Factory KTM riders were 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th (Ruben Faria followed by Viladoms, Price and Walkner, Marc Comas mousse collapsed about 50 Km’s from the end of the stage and he limped home losing 12 minutes. Sam Sunderland opened the stage and got completely lost losing 2 hours and 20 in the process.
Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk had a steady day finishing in 12th on the stage, putting him in 15th overall.
What’s happening today:
A slight breather after yesterdays 518 Km racing stage, the longest of the rally. The pressure will be off for now on the road to Chilecito. The shorter and less intense stage will allow them to enjoy their spectacular surroundings. The red earth tracks, overlooking steep peaks and plunging down into canyons, will take the Dakar through some of the most beautiful regions of Argentina. The bikers especially should not be too comfortable though, as they will still face some grueling sections with thousands of stones to be avoided, it will only take one to ruin the day !