Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda continue to battle on at a swift pace in a highly-complicated fourth stage at the 2018 Dakar Rally. Notable performance from young Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo, the best of the Monster Energy Honda Team in today’s race.

The fourth stage of the Dakar featured a change of format. In place of the usual time-trial start at three minute intervals, the top fifteen riders set off in a motocross-style start lined up across the San Juan de Marcona beach in rows of fifteen riders. Benavides, Brabec and Cornejo started in the first grouping, while Metge and Barreda formed part of the second assault which headed out after a five minute wait.

The stage consisted of 330 kilometres of special, after the day had begun with a 108 km link section, which had brought the riders as far as the beach. There was also a short six-kilometre liaison back to the bivouac at San Juan de Marcona. The route took in various terrain types including closed canyons, some trial-style riding and steep hill-climbs which led the competitors to an important area of sand dunes where the day’s racing concluded.

The team performed well to achieve their objective of landing an optimum starting position for tomorrow’s stage. Joan Barreda went off like a bat out of hell in the hope of clawing back some of yesterday’s lost time and found himself leading the field for a large part of the day. Later, in the final stretches, a badly-placed waypoint caused mayhem among competitors who had difficulty pinpointing its exact location. Joan and many others including Michael Metge and Ricky Brabec, dropped valuable time trying to validate it. Kevin Benavides, who has celebrated his birthday today, finished eighth on the day and is now third overall after maintaining a good pace without navigational setbacks. The best rider of the Monster Energy Honda Team today proved to be young Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo, seventh in both the stage and the special stage, who claimed to have taken it easy.

Tomorrow’s fifth stage (Wednesday) will see the entourage move from the San Juan de Marcona bivouac to Arequipa, the final bivouac on Peruvian soil. Of the stage’s total 774 kilometres, 266 km will be against the clock. The cars grouped together with the trucks, and the motorcycles with the quads, will dispute two separate sections in the style of the ‘Baja Aragón’: first the bikes will complete Section A while the cars will start in Section B and, once finished, the bikes will start Section B and vice versa.

Joan Barreda

Joan Barreda

One day everything is fine and then the next day it’s all very sad. We have to stay focused on the goal. Today with all the difficulties that we had things turned out pretty well as we had planned, because tomorrow is the final day of the sand dunes. We wanted to start out from behind to try attack tomorrow, so that was perfect. We had a doubt over a waypoint that didn’t appear to be positioned right and we had to ride around quite a bit to find it and we lost a few minutes in the end. So, it’s a good position. It’s a shame Sunderland is out as he’s one of the strongest rivals. My hand injury was playing up a bit today; it’s not so bad in the dunes but hurts a bit up in the mountains, but I’ll just have to put up with it.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Michael Metge

Michael Metge

Today had an impressive start on the beach, next to the Pacific Ocean, but one of the riders who entered the water splashed me and water got into my goggles. My eyes stung and I could not see well. I had to stop to clean them before continuing. I rode at a good pace, and I did the dune part well, although it also took me a while to find a difficult waypoint. I think it has not been a bad stage.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec

Today was the fourth day. It was pretty difficult. We had a beach start which was cool but also very difficult towards the end. The navigation was a little bit tricky - I think all of us got confused and lost at the same waypoint. I spent a bit more time at that waypoint trying to find it; everyone was going their own way. I thought it might be at the top of a dune. I struggled to get back to the top. Unfortunately it wasn’t there it was in the next valley, so I lost about twenty minutes today, which hurts me pretty badly in the overall standings. It’s hard to swallow but we will fight on over the next few days.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides

It's been a good birthday. It was a tough and physically demanding stage. There was a lot of dust after the start and then in the dunes we all got together again. We had a lot of problems on a waypoint that was hard to find. I was able to arrive well and in a position will be just right for tackling tomorrow’s stage.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Raul Castells

Raul Castells

Monster Energy Honda Team Manager

Today was an interesting stage with the motocross-style start. For us it has been a good stage, achieving the goal we set out to achieve. We have the riders well-positioned for tomorrow's stage. Kevin rode a good special and also Cornejo, who did really well. Today has better than we thought. Another thing that has happened today was that Sam has suffered a blow to his back and has retired. We hope it is not serious and he recovers soon. More tomorrow.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Dakar Rally

Dakar, Dakar (multiple countries)

Rally 2018

Tuesday 9 Jan 2018, 23:00 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 25 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha 4:08'23
2 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +5'01
3 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +7'10
4 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 13 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +7'32
5 Stefan Svitko SLK 11 Slovnaft Team KTM +7'45
6 Daniel Nosiglia 33 BOL 10 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna +8'39
7 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 9 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +8'45
8 Kevin Benavides ARG 8 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'14
9 Joan Barreda SPA 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +10'00
10 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 6 Himoinsa Team KTM +10'11
11 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 5 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +10'23
12 Johnny Aubert FRA 4 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +10'24
13 Michael Metge FRA 3 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11'17
14 Jonathan Barragán SPA 2 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +11'23
15 Toby Price 8 AUT 1 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +13'23
24 Ricky Brabec USA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +23'44
Monday 8 Jan 2018, 23:00 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Sam Sunderland GBR 25 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 3:20'43
2 Kevin Benavides ARG 20 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'03
3 Toby Price 8 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +3'28
4 Ricky Brabec USA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'55
5 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 11 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +4'20
6 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 10 Himoinsa Team KTM +5'08
7 Stefan Svitko SLK 9 Slovnaft Team KTM +6'03
8 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 8 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'23
9 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +7'06
10 Walter Nosiglia BOL 6 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna +8'27
11 Michael Metge FRA 5 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'03
12 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 4 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +9'04
13 Oriol Mena SPA 3 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +9'25
14 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 2 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +10'56
15 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 1 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +11'52
30 Joan Barreda SPA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +27'49
Sunday 7 Jan 2018, 22:30 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Joan Barreda SPA 25 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 2:56'44
2 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +2'54
3 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +4'24
4 Michael Metge FRA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +4'39
5 Kevin Benavides ARG 11 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +5'43
6 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 10 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +5'45
7 Sam Sunderland GBR 9 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'01
8 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 8 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +6'12
9 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 7 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +6'36
10 Toby Price 8 AUT 6 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'40
11 Jonathan Barragán SPA 5 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +6'43
12 Ricky Brabec USA 4 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +7'19
13 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 3 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'32
14 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 2 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +9'43
15 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 1 Himoinsa Team KTM +10'53
Sunday 7 Jan 2018, 14:34 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Sam Sunderland GBR 25 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 20'56
2 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++0'33
3 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 16 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna ++0'56
4 Joan Barreda SPA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++0'57
5 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 11 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++01'07
6 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 10 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++01'23
7 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 9 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++01'31
8 Daniel Nosiglia 33 BOL 8 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna ++01'33
9 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 7 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++01'49
10 Kevin Benavides ARG 6 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++01'53
11 Ricky Brabec USA 5 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++02'47
12 Laia Sanz 12 SPA 4 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team KTM ++03'16
13 Santosh Chunchungguppe 49 IND 3 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero ++03'16
14 Toby Price 8 AUT 2 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++03'21
15 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 1 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++03'21
19 Michael Metge FRA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++03'51
Provisional Standings
Tuesday, 9 Jan 2018
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Adrien VAN BEVEREN 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
2 Pablo QUINTANILLA 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna
3 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
4 Matthias WALKNER 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
5 Xavier DE SOULTRAIT 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
6 Toby PRICE 8 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
7 José Ignacio CORNEJO 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
8 Franco CAIMI 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
9 Gerard FARRES 23 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM
10 Antoine MEO 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
12 Ricky BRABEC USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
13 Joan BARREDA SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda