Qatar Cross Country Rally
Friday 21 April
Fourth stage: Losail - Losail
Connection: 27,12 km - Special: 337,76km - Connection: 96,58 km - Total: 461,46 km
The wind was blowing harder than yesterday in Qatar and the gusts were sometimes 60 km/h and the road book was even thicker than the other days: 485 notes for 337 km ... That translates into a very complicated navigation, which requires a lot of concentration.
At CP1 (Passage Control where the rider dabs in the riders’ box), Kevin Benavides (Honda) was the fastest, but at CP2, Sam Sunderland (KTM) had already picked up the reins of the race and was heading for another victory.
The British rider did not miss an opportunity to win the stage and finished out front with 3'58 advantage over Kevin Benavides (Honda) and 5'32 over his teammate Matthias Walkner (KTM). "Nothing is ever finished before going under the chequered flag," said Sunderland (KTM). “I made some mistakes in navigation at the start of the special and it caused me some stress, but after the refuelling, I attacked and finally it was a good day. From my point of view there were some errors in the road book which added confusion ... The plan is not to make mistakes now, but it's never easy. "
Second, Kevin Benavides (Honda) said: "I made a couple of mistakes and then caught Pela Renet (Husqvarna) in the second half. We rode together, away from the group, which, on this rally, is equivalent to opening the track ... "
Speaking of opening the track for 337 km without ever being caught by the others ... It was no fun for Matthias Walkner (KTM) who nevertheless ranks third. "It was really difficult to find the right tracks, to follow the good points and to make the right decisions all by myself," confirms the young Austrian. “I was lost for a few moments, but I managed to find my way back quickly ... After the refuelling, I had to stop because my road book was torn. "
Fourth, Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) rode 10 or 12 km more than on the road book to find the right direction: "At km 80, I made a mistake in navigation but, for me, the road book was not very clear. I lost a lot of time, but in the second part I was able to take a good pace and follow Sam. Tomorrow will be an important day and it will not be easy to attack without making mistakes. "
Pela Renet (Husqvarna) finished in fifth position and explained: "On technical ground, with navigation, I feel comfortable, but I still have trouble putting the throttle fully open in some places ..."
"With the number of notes we had and in the stones, it was really complicated," commented Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), sixth on the special stage. “When I found myself with Sam, we rode together for a while, but in the stones, he went too fast and I lowered the pace. I did not want to take any risks."
Antoine Meo (KTM) who yesterday had broken the silencer bracket, set his pace too high again in this stage. "I was on my way and I passed CP1 in 3rd, but then, at the KM 70, I arrived too fast and I missed the split... To reach the waypoint, I had to do 10 km ... round trip. It's very difficult here and I obviously lack training ... "
Sam Sunderland (KTM) is 12'34 ahead of Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) and 15'19 on Matthias Walkner (KTM). The suspense will be great for the last special that takes place tomorrow!
In quad class, the competitors had a day full of emotions: Rafal Sonik (Yamaha), winner of the stage, broke a suspension arm 120 km from the finish. "I fixed it but every 20 km it broke and I had to repair it again ...". Alexis Hernandez, who is behind him, found himself again with the road book torn, and had not spotted the danger and fell into a hole, banging his head to see stars ... "I did not know anymore where I was but I set off,” explains the Peruvian. “Then, 3 km from the finish, my quad stopped. I couldn’t find the fault and I thought I was going have to push it for 3 km ... Then I saw an electrical cable was broken. I repaired it as best I could, but it was not simple, and then it was the plug that no longer sparked ... I cleaned the cap and then held it down for 3 km ... " The incredible thing is that Kees Koolen (Barren) also lost time, and Hernandez, despite having lost an hour, is in second position in the general standings.
As for Camelia Liparoti (Yamaha), it is definitely not her rally. Today, she lost the left rear wheel but was able to repair it and continue, and should keep her fifth place. (And at the time of this news, the incredible Camelia is still on the track).
Provisional classification of the special stage
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally 4hr 02min 39sec
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda 450 CRF Rally 4hr 06min 37sec
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally 4hr 08min 11sec
4. Paolo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally 4hr 08min 44sec
5. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally 4hr 09min 39sec
6. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) Husqvarna 450 Rally 4hr 09min 59sec
7. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 Rally 4hr 41min 53sec
1. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha YFM 700 R 5hr 57min 40sec
2. Alexis Hernandez (PER) Yamaha Raptor 700R 6hr 08min 11sec
3. Kees Koolen (NLD) Barren Racer One 690 6hr 19min 35sec
4. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700R 6hr 48min 57sec
Provisional general classification
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally 11hr 58min 23sec
2. Paolo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally 12hr 10min 57sec
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally 12hr 13min 42sec
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda 450 CRF Rally 12hr 15min 22sec
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) Husqvarna 450 Rally 12hr 18min 35sec
6. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally12hr 20min 23sec
7. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 Rally 13hr 59min 12sec
1. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha YFM 700 R 16hr 15min 43sec
2. Alexis Hernandez (PER) Yamaha Raptor 700R 17hr 02min 33sec
3. Kees Koolen (NLD) Barren Racer One 690 17hr 09min 24sec
4. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700R 18hr 03min 24sec