Dakar Stage 4: Brabec dominates to take lead

By: David Gruz

Honda rider Ricky Brabec topped the fourth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally and snatched the overall lead from Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla. The 406km stage, which was split by a neutralised zone, was led by Brabec at every waypoint and the American scored his second Dakar stage win by 6m19s.

Like in Stage 2, where Brabec also spent the most time in the lead before falling behind, Matthias Walkner was closest to the American – but this time the reigning champion had to settle for second on the day.

Both riders made up for getting lost during a difficult Stage 3, with Brabec now moving up to the lead from seventh, as he took advantage of Quintanilla having a poor day.

The Husqvarna rider started the day with an 11-minute gap over his rivals but was over 20 minutes slower than Brabec on Stage 4, falling 2m19s behind him in the general classification.

Walkner’s KTM teammates Toby Price and Sam Sunderland ended the stage third and fourth and also occupy those places in the overall order, just four and five minutes behind Brabec respectively.

Matthias Walkner

Adrien Van Beveren led Yamaha’s efforts in fifth on the day as Stage 3 winner Xavier De Soultrait struggled, two and a half minutes slower than even Quintanilla.

This leaves van Beveren fifth in the general classification, ahead of Honda’s Kevin Benavides – who was matching the stage leaders’ pace before losing seven minutes before the second checkpoint.

Walkner is seventh overall, but sits only nine minutes and 31 seconds adrift of Brabec.

Standings after Stage 4 (Bike class, Top 10)

Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Ricky Brabec Honda 12h33m00s
2 Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna +2m19s
3 Toby Price KTM +4m22s
4 Sam Sunderland KTM +5m45s
5 Adrien van Beveren Yamaha +8m56s
6 Kevin Benavides Honda +9m01s
7 Matthias Walkner KTM +9m31s
8 Paulo Goncalves Honda +20m45s
9 Xavier De Soultrait Yamaha +22m00s
10 Stefan Svitko KTM +28m09s

Source:  Image Motorsport Images