Team Honda Europe is well prepared for the desert
The fourth stage was welcomed as it was a big change from the third. All riders finished on time, after a rather uneventfull stage. It was not boring, but a great way to build trust on the bike after a heavy third stage,
as Patrick Trahan said. Today after a delay the rally started and crossed to border to Chili. The pass between the mountains was at great height, over 4000m with height sickness as a result. Right after the border the special stage started with a lenght of 163km, as the last 40 kilometer had been removed from the roadbook. The rider could speed up, with easy navigation and not too tough terrain.
Gerben Vruggink (52 in the stage, 57 overall) had a good day, without too many risks. He rode with Ruben Faria (follower of Despres) but had to leave him behind on a winding track up the mountains. "Faria simply cut the corner and drove straight up. I won't take that much risk on a day like this, but it was excellent to witness such speed!"
Christopher Jarmuz (55 in the stage, 39 overall) was not quite satisfied about today. Still he is ranked higher than last year on this day, when he finished the rally as 22nd. "It was dusty, easy to ride and I love surfing the dunes! I was on the bike with a smile today. For me, the next five days will make the difference. I have read the roadbook for tomorrow already three times!"
Mirjam Pol (68 in the stage, 55 overall) had her first "uneventfull day" during this rally. "If you like stones, this was a great stage. I don't like stones." she said. "The last part of the stage went trough sand and dunes which was fun. It was a good day to have after such a tough stage. For me the worst is already over. Like last year the stage to Fiambala is one to forget."
Patrick Trahan (76 in the stage, 89 overall) had a perfect day. "I wanted to have a day without mistake, which I got!" he smiles. "The sand was quite har, which made it easier. Yesterday I had lost to mch water, but the doctors could help out. I was a bit worried about the long connection and the heights but it all went very well. Not all stages are ths easy, but a day like this is a great help!"
Tonnie Krabbenborg (85 in the stage, 103 overall) had a nice ride. "I enjoyed it. Lots of fast tracks, great dunes! I had a good time, even though the stones could be tricky. Looking at the roadbook I think tomorrow will be more difficult."
Aloys Ressing (95 in the stage, 86 overall): "A stage from the brochure!" Aloys was very happy with today. "We only had to work three hours during the special. The connection was no problem at all. My compliments for the mechanics, who have worked all night to fix the bikes. I was overtaken by three cars of the top ten, which beautifull to see. They really make sure overtaking is safe, which is great as not everyone does so. The last 15 kilometers through the dunes were a blast, I could my pace and went right through. Tomorrow won't be easy, so I am happy to have had a day like this."
Dakar has arrived in the Atacama desert. It is time for the true desert stages. Tomorrow is the first of a series of four. Here the differences between riders will be hours instead of minutes, and the battle to stay in the race begins...