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Dakar 2024, stage 4: Cornejo sovereign, Loeb back to winning ways

The thermometer showed only five degrees in the early morning when the racers left the tents in bivouac in Al Salamiya and headed for the city Al Hofuf, which lies next to one of the largest oases in the country, in which three million date palms grow. Between them, the total distance that had to be overcome was almost 700 km, but the bikers, drivers and crews struggled with time "only" on 299 of them.

In Saudi Arabia it is very difficult to cover such a great distance without running into dunes, but the daily amounts were negligible. On this quick special that he's on Nacho cornejo was able to show that he is not only an excellent navigator, to the extent that he took the lead in the overall classification of the motorcycle category. Fast driving is also a domain by Sébastien Loeb, who managed to climb back to the top of the stage classification today.

There were no special problems on the program of the fourth stage, which does not mean that there will not be first-class performances. The one he prepared Nacho cornejo, can definitely be placed in this category. His specialty is extremely fast reading and especially the interpretation of the road book. The Chilean again proved himself in this field, although he did not have to pave the way on the special, as he started sixth.

But the Honda racer knows how to open the throttle when opportunity knocks on the door, and he didn't do things by halves. After crossing the finish line, he won the stage and also took the lead in the general classification, taking advantage of two crashes Ross Branch, which fortunately were not serious. Husband from Botswana he lost the three minute lead he had yesterday and even lost an extra minute.

He will have to tomorrow Cornel on the way to Shubaytah ride like a master: the last time he was in this position, a crash 48 hours before the end of the Dakar 2021 saw him miss out on victory. Losing the Dakar two days before the end is something he has also experienced Sébastien Loeb, who last led the overall classification, then at the wheel of a Peugeot in 2017 near San Juan, Argentina. The Frenchman is not quite at the same level yet, but by winning the stage that ended in Al-Hofuf, gently began the return.

The gaps achieved did not shake up the race hierarchy, but he moved up three places to begin with and now sits in 6th place, 23'50" behind Yazeed Al Rajhi. The Saudi racer, fully in control of his new role as the overall leader in the Ultimate class, left Loeb just over a minute behind. Therefore, tomorrow together with Nasser Al Attiyah (3rd in the speed test, 1'22" behind the winner) set out to chase the best rally driver of all time, but on the terrain that suits them best: the dunes Rub Al-Hali desert.

It is guaranteed that the ocean of dunes will not remove the smile from your face Eryka Goczał, who took his fourth special victory in the Challenger class, but it is expected to be an even tougher battle from their smaller cousins ​​in the SSV category, in which the Portuguese was the fastest João Ferreira, who Gerrard Farrés did not dislodge from the top of the overall ranking. In truck competition, the leadership has not changed, because it has Janus van Kasteren achieved the best time for the fourth time in five days of racing. Nevertheless, it has a front Aleš Loprais only a 5,17” lead in the overall standings, so it's still up for grabs.

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