In spite of placing one truck inside the Top 5 with Janus van Kasteren, IVECO suffered the first blow of the Dakar 2020 with the retirement of Vick Versteijnen, as mechanical issues prevented him from starting the stage.
The Dakar caravan left the future megalopolis of Neom in southeast direction through the provinces of Tabuk and Madinah to reach the city of Al Ula. The fourth stage of the competition was the longest in timed kilometers by now, as the race keeps pushing the crews to the limit. 453 kilometers counted directly for the overall classification as day 4 came to an end in Saudi Arabia.
Most part of the stage was done in soil and sand, as navigation becomes the main factor in the 42nd edition of Dakar Rally, going back to the race’s roots. PETRONAS Team De Rooy IVECO trucks sailed through the waypoints and keep on advancing to new horizons.
Janus van Kasteren finished the fourth stage in fourth position, 13m02s behind the leaders. The Dutchman proved to be one of the best drivers in the team and took the #505 IVECO to the seventh place in overall standings after more than fifteen hours of racing in just four days.
Major problems struck Vick Versteijnen, as the Dutchmen crew could not even start the stage. The PETRONAS Team De Rooy IVECO #522 had mechanical issues that forced him to retire from the race, although it will seek for the chance to rejoin from tomorrow without any chances of competing from important positions.
Albert Llovera departed at 10:55 local time and continued his way in the stage to close a good special in 17th place, more than one hour and fifteen minutes away from Shibalov, winner of the day. The driver from Andorra lays 15th in the standings, fighting to get closer to the Top 10 before the Rest Day.
On the other hand, the assistance truck from PETRONAS Team De Rooy IVECO, #531 Trakker, finished in 20th position with Michiel Becx at the wheel. After trying to solve the problem in Versteijnen’s vehicle, the Dutchman started the day in 21st place overall, he is now 19th, with the leaders six hours in front.
Stage 5 will keep the race rolling east, from Al Ula to Ha’il in 353 timed kilometers, 563 in total with the liaison sections. The roads promise to get very sandy and the crews will have to take a close look to humongous rocks that will serve as landmarks. In this way they would not lose precious time. The stage will be less technical but just as impressive as dunes will stand to attention in front of drivers. The descents will require even more advanced driving skills. A true challenge for Thursday.
STAGE 4 RESULTS
1. Anton Shibalov (Kamaz) 4h15m43s
2. Andrey Karginov (Kamaz) + 2m41s
3. Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz) + 9m05s
4. JANUS VAN KASTEREN (IVECO) + 13m02s
5. Gert Huzink (Renault) + 14m00s
17. ALBERT LLOVERA (IVECO) + 1h15m04s
20. MICHIEL BECX (IVECO) + 2h09m32s
DNS. VICK VERSTEIJNEN (IVECO) DID NOT START
1. Andrey Karginov (Kamaz) 15h54m43s
2. Siarhei Viazovich (Maz) + 10m43s
3. Anton Shibalov (Kamaz) + 15m02s
4. Martin Macik (IVECO) + 59m16s
5. Ales Loprais (Praga) + 1h08m55s
7. JANUS VAN KASTEREN (IVECO) + 1h17m58s
15. ALBERT LLOVERA (IVECO) + 2h57m19s
19. MICHIEL BECX (IVECO) + 6h53m18s
— VICK VERSTEIJNEN