Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Sanders and Mitch Guthrie Jr. eclipsed their rivals during Wednesday’s tricky Stage Four at the 45th edition of motorsport’s toughest test of endurance, the Dakar Rally. Here is all you need to know:
January 4 | Stage 4 | Ha’il – Ha’il | Distance – Total/Special: 574.01km/425km
– The relentless pace of the 2023 race continued on Wednesday with 425km against the clock across camel grass, desert canyons and sand dunes as Dakar heavyweights Loeb/Fabian Lurquin and Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger battled it out.
– Both crews led the stage at various points during the day in the car category before nine-time WRC winner Loeb got over the line 13 seconds quicker than 14-time Dakar winner Peterhansel. Frenchman Loeb said: “We tried to push really hard on this stage. We were on full attack all the time.”
– Australian Sanders finished eighth, however it was enough to claim the overall bike lead after the route had been drastically altered by heavy rain. The 28-year-old said: “I haven’t really done any opening with roadbooks since the last Dakar. It was tricky navigation.”
– There was another T3 stage win for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich thanks to American Guthrie Jr. and co-driver Kellon Walch, who now lead the T3 rankings followed by Guillaume De Mevius/François Cazalet in second and AJ Jones/Gustavo Gugelmin in third. Guthrie, 26, revealed: “They took us up a lot of big dunes on this stage. My co-rider Kellon and me had to work really well together to decide which dunes to climb and which ones to go around.”
– Thursday’s Stage Five features 373km against the clock with a loop stage around the Ha’il bivouac.