Samsung Sherco Rally Factory’s Juan Pedrero Garcia finished Stage 4 of the 2014 Dakar Rally at the top of the timesheet, navigating the 218-mile special stage in just under five-and-a-half hours. He was followed by KTM’s Chaleco Lopez in second-place and Lopez’s teammate, Marc Coma, in third. Team HRC’s Joan Barreda retains the overall lead, however, but his advantage was significantly cut following his sixth-place finish in Stage 4. Coma is now second overall, a little over three minutes behind. Lopez moved up the ranks as well, and now sits third overall.
Stage 4 marked the final half of the first marathon stage of the 2014 Dakar and was delayed by two hours to allow riders more time to prepare for the day after a difficult Stage 3. Lopez was sixth to leave the start line, but he quickly made up time on the leaders and was in first-place by Checkpoint 1. He was followed by Garcia’s teammate, Alain Duclos, in second and Coma in third. KTM’s David Casteu and Jordi Villadoms were also strong during the initial miles, but both would later run into trouble and fall outside the top-10 for the stage.
Lopez continued to lead at CP2 and Duclos was holding strong to second, but Coma and Speedbrain’s Jeremias Israel Esquerre were just minutes behind. Garcia began to make up significant ground in this portion as well. The Sherco rider started in 43rd place at the start of the day but by CP3 had moved into second-place and was less than one minute behind Lopez. Garcia continued to push to the finish and ended 29 seconds faster than Lopez, earning his first stage win of the 2014 Dakar.
Esquerre remained steady to the finish, taking fourth and earning his best result of the rally so far. Yamaha’s Oliver Pain finished fifth with Barreda following in sixth. Barreda’s teammate, Paulo Goncalves, took seventh.
Barreda was in contention for another top-three finish but a navigation error near the end of the route cost him valuable time.
“I was going well in the stage, until about 80 km from the end when I took a wrong turning after seeing a note at the river crossing,” explained Barreda. “I’d spent a long time yesterday going over the road book which also indicated another way. I lost a lot of time. I went back to the same place, and then took the same wrong direction. I fell while I was trying to make up the lost time. But the good thing is that I’ve been able to salvage something out it... I lost a bit of time, but we continue to be ahead. Tomorrow is another day and we will try and rectify everything.”
Defending Dakar champion, Cyril Despres of Factory Yamaha, was riding strong for much of the stage but while nearing the finish line his engine failed, costing him over 40 minutes on the leader. The French rider ultimately finished the stage in 16th, dropping him to sixth in the overall standings. Barreda’s teammate, Sam Sunderland, was also hit with engine troubles, and was forced to drop out of the race. The team is currently investigating what happened to Sunderland’s engine, which stopped running during the liason.
Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 4: San Juan to Chilecito Results
1. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (Sherco) 5:29:13
2. Chaleco Lopez, CHL (KTM) 5:29:42
3. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 5:32:23
4. Jeremias Israel Esquerre, CHL (Speedbrain) 5:35:43
5. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 5:36:14
6. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 5:43:09
7. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Honda) 5:47:51
8. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 5:48:43
9. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 5:52:26
10. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 5:53:51
Dakar Rally 2014 Overall Standings after Stage 4
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 15:39:53
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 15:43:03
3. Chaleco Lopez, CHL (KTM) 15:45:05
4. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 16:05:48
5. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 16:09:31
6. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 16:21:10
7. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 16:22:10
8. Jeremias Israel Esquerre, CHL (Speedbrain) 16:26:26
9. Jordi Villadoms, ESP (KTM) 16:29:07
10. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 16:34:45