It was another long, hard day in Saudi Arabia for stage 4 of the 2023 Dakar Rally. Today’s stage winner was a familiar name: Joan Barreda. With 29 stage wins, Barreda ranks number two on the all-time list, but he still hasn’t won the big prize. This year, he has his own team, although he receives equipment from the Monster Energy Honda team. American Mason Klein was the provisional leader through most of the stage. He started third and made up time on Sanders immediately. He eventually took the physical lead and was comfortable opening the trail. It all came undone within 20 km from the finish. At refueling, he was given gasoline contaminated with water. Initially, he thought it was a fuel pump failure, and had to pour fuel from one tank to another. Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla was second ahead of Skyler Howes, who also spent some time opening the stage. Skyler now sits in second overall behind Danial Sanders. Mason Klein is sixth.

Skyler Howes at the start of stage 4

Skyler Howes: “That one was tough. I caught up to Sanders around kilometer 100, and Mason (Klein) caught up as well, so the three of us were fighting at the front to open the stage. It was a super-fun day in the morning – the dunes were really wet, but then softer on the top, and I actually went over the bars a couple of times, which isn’t great. I led into the refueling and then after that I had a really big crash in a section of rocks. We were searching to find the correct way and I must have just clipped one and it sent me sideways. Thankfully Sanders was close by and helped me up. After that I found it hard to find my rhythm for a good while, I was riding like a zombie. But then towards the end I found my focus and was able to navigate well to the finish. I need a little rest now, but I’m happy with how things are going overall.”


Mason Klein: ““The stage was really nice, everything was going really well. I got to open a good amount, so that was really nice. I got some bonus time, which is probably going to really help me, because after about 400 km my fuel pump went out. I had to stop, take the tank off and pour it in the back. Then I couldn’t get the skid plate bolt back in. I was getting very stressed. It’s pretty disappointing because the day was going so well, but at least we made it here. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll try and make up some time again, I guess. It’s pretty hard. You can’t really make up time, you know? You just lose it… I have a bunch of tools with me, so I basically ran out in the dunes, got my seat off, took out the tools, dropped it the ground, undid a couple of clips, undid three bolts, then I poured it back in. It didn’t go that smoothly though, because I couldn’t make the bike stand up until I had some gas in the tank again, so the whole time I had to balance the bike while taking everything off. You can’t get the skid plate off when it’s just laying on the ground. It’s just difficult. It took too long, maybe five or something minutes, hopefully not more than ten”.

Jason Argubright, stage 4

Jacob Argubright recovered from what sounded like a miserable end to yesterday’s stage when he had to transfer for hours in cold rain without a jacket. His fourth stage was less eventful: “Other than starting pretty far back and having to pass a lot of people, it was a solid smooth stage that I can build off of. More dunes and stage 5 up next!”

Daniel Sanders is the overall leader after four stages.

Daniel Sanders: “Yeah, today was pretty tricky but I enjoyed it. It’s been quite some time since I led out on a stage and navigating through a stage first is pretty hard for anyone. I did get lost at one point but stayed calm, figured things out, and got back on course pretty quickly. Overall, I was happy with today. I didn’t lose too much time and I’m still leading, so I’m pumped with how the rally is shaping up for me. Now it’s onto tomorrow and a full day in the dunes. I can’t wait!”

For extended coverage of the 2023 Dakar Rally, click here.

2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 4 Provisional Classification

1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 4:28:18
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 4:28:34
3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 4:29:23
4. Toby Price (KTM) 4:30:42
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 4:30:55
6. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:31:31
11. Mason Klein (KTM) 4:40:26
61. PAUL NEFF (ARO) 6H 16′ 11”
62. PETR VLCEK (ARO) 6H 16′ 15”
70. PABLO COPETTI (KTM) 6H 27′ 14”
83. KYLE MC COY (ARO) 6H 51′ 09”
90. DAVID PEARSON (ARO) 7H 20′ 11”
108. MORRISON HART (ARO) 9H 20′ 55”
109. JAMES PEARSON (ARO) 9H 25′ 28”

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 18:40:03
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 18:43:36
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 18:44:08
4. Joan Barreda (Honda) 18:44:33
5. Toby Price (KTM) 18:47:20
6. Mason Klein (KTM) 18:50:08
51. PABLO COPETTI 24H 13′ 19”
63. PAUL NEFF (ARO) 24H 50′ 44”
66. PETR VLCEK 25H 03′ 46”
77. KYLE MC COY (ARO) 26H 11′ 00”
84. DAVID PEARSON (ARO) 26H 55′ 19”
106. JAMES PEARSON (ARO) 32H 26′ 50”
110. MORRISON HART (ARO) 35H 44′ 40”

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