After an early start this morning, with temperatures hovering just above freezing, Rodrigues was fifth fastest after a 586km ride, with a 192km special stage, from Belén to Chilecito. His team mate, Pizzolito, who won yesterday’s third stage, finished ninth, 12m50s behind today’s stage winner Marc Coma.
Pizzolito opened the stage at 06.10 this morning, which was conducted in the Fiambalà area of Argentina and contained some typical Dakar scenery of spectacular sand dunes, and the Argentinian rider made some small navigational errors which affected his time.
But it is the consistency of Rodrigues, together with the performance of his Honda CRF450 Rally, that has put him at the top of the overall leader board, just 1m16s ahead of his Team HRC team-mate.
However, the results were overshadowed by the announcement that Argentinian rider, Nicolás Rojas, had succumbed to injuries sustained when he crashed heavily in today’s stage. The thoughts of Team HRC are with his family and friends in this difficult time.
Helder Rodrigues #3 – 5th
What a difficult day! It was really easy to make a mistake in navigation and I got lost with a few other riders today, but we got back on the right track in the end. After these problems, I’m really happy with the result today. I am leading now and I think Javier and I can make a good race in tomorrow’s long stage. The bike is feeling great and the team is working really well together.
Javier Pizzolito #7 – 9th
It was difficult for me to open today’s stage because it required a lot of navigation, but I am happy with my performance. I injured my hand in the crash yesterday and at the end of today, whe n I was tired, it started to swell up and I was in some pain, but I managed to reach the end. I am also happy that Helder is leading overall and that I am quite close to him because tomorrow will be an important stage.
Martino Bianchi – general manager, Team HRC Rally:
It was a difficult stage today, especially the navigational aspects and Javier suffered from this as he was opening the stage. Tomorrow’s long stage – almost 800km – will be crucial to the final results. But the team’s consistent performance has put him and Helder in front overall, even though it’s very close between the top six riders. Of course, the results from today suddenly lost any significance when we heard the news of Nicolás Roja. Something like this affects the whole rally community and, of course, our thoughts are with his family now.
Desafio Ruta 40
Special Stage 4 results:
1 Marc Coma (KTM)
2 Kurt Caselli (KTM) +1m50s
3 David Casteu (Yamaha) +3m36s
4 Claudio Rodrigues (Honda) +4m38s
5 Helder Rodrigues (Team HRC) +5m25s
6 Pablo Rodrigues (Honda) +7m16s
7 Francisco Lopez (KTM) 9m44s
8 F J Prohens (Honda) 9m55s
9 Javier Pizzolito (Team HRC)12m50s
2 Pizzolito +1m16s
3 Caselli +1m39s
4 Lopez +2m11s
5 Coma +3m17s
6 Casteu +4m33s
7 Goncalves +12m28s