Four in row for Red Bull Buggies
FOUR IN A ROW FOR QATAR: Nasser al-Attiyah won a second consecutive stage and made it four day wins in a row for the Red Bull Buggies. Image: AFP
AREQUIPA, Peru - Qatari ace Nasser al-Attiyah won a second successive stage in the 2013 Dakar rally as he triumphed in the fourth stage to give himself a great chance of adding to his triumph in the 2011 event.
Dakar stage 4 gallery
The 42-year-old made it four stage wins from four for his Red Bull Buggy team and closed the gap to the overall leader, France's Mini-driving 10-times champion Stephane Peterhansel.
NOT ALL GOOD NEWS
Guerlain Chicherit took second in the stage, 36sec behind, while Peterhansel, 47, who has won the race six times on a motorcycle and four times in a car, came in more than a minute behind the Qatari and saw his lead clipped to 5min16.
However, it was not all good news for the Red Bull team. 2010 winner Carlos Sainz dropped out of contention with a second successive poor day, the winner of the first two stages suffering more problems with his car.
Al-Attiyah, though, was all smiles when he emerged from his car. "In the dunes at the start, it was very difficult to open the way, but in the end we are here without any problem at all and a good time as well so we are happy,”
Al-Attiyah, who in 2012 showed his all-round sporting skills by winning Olympic bronze in shooting, added: "Of course, we know that tomorrow the terrain is going to be less easy for the buggies and we will probably lose a bit of time but, since it should be better for us in Chile, I'm not worried, especially since we are out in front and not far behind Peterhansel."
The motorcycle section saw a change of hands in terms of the overall lead as Frenchman Olivier Pain took over from compatriot and four-time winner Cyril Despres.
The stage honours went to Spanish rider Joan Barreda Bort on a Husqvarna, who recorded his second stage win of the 2013 race in beating Pain by 8min23 while another Frenchman, David Casteu, was third.
Pain leads Casteu in the overall standings by 2min24 with defending champion Despres dropping to third 3min09 back.
Pain, 31, whose best finishes in six previous Dakars has been two ninth places (one of them in 2012) was not getting ahead of himself with regard to winning the race.
"I don't want to get over-excited about my place overall, the rally's still long and my objective is to finish in the top 10 every day. I hope to continue doing this well until the end.”