American rider, Jonah Street, moved into second place overall with a strong result in Stage 4. Street finished third today, just 1’21 behind the winner, Marc Coma. Spain’s top rally racer blazed through the shortest stage of the rally’s 459 km special in just 4:09’32 to collect his third daily victory for Repsol KTM.
The day started with a miniscule four km transfer, just enough to get the engines warmed up before taking to the twisty route to the only fuel stop at Check Point 1. High-speed terrain followed for roughly the next 150 km before again getting into the technical, tight terrain. Coma had his countryman teammate, Jordi Viladoms close behind to help support, which allowed the Spaniard to push for the victory. Cyril Despres finally had a good day without tire flats and scored a runner-up result. By only dropping 1’17 to his rival, Despres was able to land just outside the top-10 behind Einars Vinters.
Street was merely seconds behind Depress, but enjoyed a gap of more than three minutes back to David Fretigne. However, the battle between the American and Frenchman is heated for overall podium positions. Street clings to second place by only 45 seconds.
Stage 2 victor, Frans Verhoeven, scored ninth, which is where he resides overall.
After a night’s rest in Neuquen, riders will be up early for a 5 a.m. start tomorrow for their ride to San Rafael. They can expect many different types of terrain as the course heads north during the 506 km special which includes two check points and fueling stops.
Marc Coma (Esp – KTM) – 1st, 1st OA
It was a nice stage with some good riding at the beginning then a bit more navigation. The landscape changed, making it a bit more technical, and more physical because you start to feel all the efforts put in so far. Today, it was shorter but harder than the other days. It was a bit like Morocco, where the tricks are nice and quick. I didn’t have any problems with my tires. Since it was a shorter stage, we chose to use foam bibs, and I haven’t had any problems with them. What was strange was having to open 4 or 5 gates. They are cattle gates for keeping the cattle from leaving the farms. In the Patagonia – Atacama the tradition is to close them behind you so everyone is on an equal footing, but this time I left them open, especially as it was my team-mate Viladoms behind me!
Cyril Despres (Fra – KTM) – 2nd, 11th OA
I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to have a trouble free run. The tracks were really nice and I even managed to forget how far behind I am overall. I started in 47th place this morning and overtook about 40 bikes, and obviously that takes a little time, so to finish just behind Marc isn’t too bad. Now we have to work at getting some time back. I am perhaps the only person in the bivouac who believes I can still win – but it was pretty much like that in 2007 and that it didn’t work out too badly!
Jonah Street (USA – KTM) – 3rd, 2nd OA
It was a nice day. Until refueling, I really enjoyed riding on these winding tracks. It was also good to be able to ride without having to constantly think about going easy on the tires, because on the first two stages, I had to slow down. I also liked the last part, because I knew there would be some off-track riding. When you have to ride without the others’ tracks, it’s even better.
David Fretigne (Fra – Yamaha) – 4th, 3rd OA
It was superb. We finished on the stony tracks, which were a bit quicker, with a crossing of a dry river where there was a big crowd to encourage us. It was a really great special, very varied. I’ve never had such a good time on the rally. It’s also the way the special stages are designed which helps. They are technical, interesting and require a lot of concentration. As a biker, that makes for great riding.
Jordi Viladoms (Esp – KTM) – 6th, 4th OA
I didn’t push too much today, just rode my own race. The terrain was fun and I enjoyed myself – all I had to do was make sure I stayed out of trouble, didn’t puncture my tube and be there for Marc if he needed me.
Stage 4 Results:
1. COMA (ESP) KTM 04:09:32
2. DESPRES (FRA) KTM 04:10:49
3. STREET (USA) KTM 04:10:53
4. FRETIGNE (FRA) YAMAHA 04:14:03
5. LOPEZ (CHL) KTM 04:17:09
6. VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 04:18:12
7. CASTEU (FRA) KTM 04:19:56
8. KNUIMAN (NLD) KTM 04:23:40
9. VERHOEVEN (NLD) KTM 04:24:11
10. FARRES GUELL (ESP) KTM 04:25:14
1. COMA (ESP) KTM 14:41:21
2. STREET (USA) KTM 15:24:18
3. FRETIGNE (FRA) YAMAHA 15:25:03
4. VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 15:37:18
5. ULLEVALSETER (NOR) KTM 15:39:50
6. KNUIMAN (NLD) KTM 15:50:22
7. CZACHOR (POL) KTM 15:56:12
8. RODRIGUES (PRT) KTM 16:04:25
9. VERHOEVEN (NLD) KTM 16:15:14
10. VINTERS (LVA) KTM 16:18:20