CHILE CITO – The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally 2014 was the longest special stage since 2005: 657 kilometers of special stage, with on top of that, more than 200 kilometres of liaison. That should cause problems, and it did.
The two remaining drivers of the Riwald Dakar Team, Erik Wevers and Bernhard Ten Brinke, had a tough day. Because of the tricky surface, the HRX Fords had a hard time. Despite the excellent driving skills and clever navigation work they were hit by fate. Erik Wevers explains: “We lost loads of time because of a failing alternator, so we couldn’t continue our way. Eventually we were dragged into the bivouac by Eimbert Timmermans from XDakar.
Unfortunate, because in the first part of the special stage the pace was excellent. It is important to stay cool: the rest day is the main goal for now.” The team applied for repositioning, so Wevers is allowed to start the fifth stage from the 17th position. This element can be used three times during the rally, when a driver finishes in the top 15 on the day before.
‘We’re not giving up!’
Bernhard Ten Brinke also began energetically, after his strong run on the third day. Unfortunately, he was also hit by bad luck: “We a rim got stuck to the caliper so we couldn’t replace it. I also drove parts of the stage with 3-wheel drive, because I had to push too hard on other parts. As a result, I couldn’t drive at full speed. But we’re not giving up!”
The mechanics have worked tall night to bring the HRX Fords back in good condition at the start. The fifth stage once again promises to be a heavy day with a Special Stage of over 500 kilometres through large sand plains. Temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius so men and machine will get a hard time.