Ricky Brabec today played his hand in a bid to find some kind of consistency that might produce better results like on the previous stages of the 2021 Dakar. The reigning Dakar champion finished in the top 20, occupying 15th position overall, just over 16 minutes behind the race leader.
Brabec feels he’s comfortable with his position. “Today was one of the easier days with a lot of fast tracks,” he said. We started at the back so it was basically a free road for us. We don’t stand out in the results – that wasn’t the plan. We didn’t want to go out and win.
“Someone has got to put a stop to the yoyo effect that we’re having with KTM. I sacked up and I went slow today to try and get in with the rhythm of the main group.
“So far we are looking pretty good. We are starting tomorrow at the back with the KTM guys. Tomorrow, we’ll have a good push and hopefully, get back to the front.
“Right now we are just 16 minutes out of the lead. That’s nothing. It’s one day. Hopefully, tomorrow we can make up some time and go into the rest day in the top three.
“Today, I just wanted to sit back and get behind the curve. We are just flip-flopping and the results are changing every day. In order to manage the race, we’ve got to get behind and start fishing for them.
“We’ll attack tomorrow and see how things look on the rest day. It’s tough out there. We got turned around at one waypoint. But, in the end, if you look at the times, we are all really close. No stress. Just taking it easy today, to get behind everyone so that we can make up time tomorrow before the rest day.
Brabec’s team-mate Joan Barreda clinched yet another stage victory and now lies in second overall.
The fifth stage will take the riders into a new, tough stage tomorrow. Competitors head out from Riyadh bound for the new Al Qaisumah camp. There will be a 205-kilometre timed special, out of a total of 456 kilometres, over varied terrain including sand, dunes, but also over rocky ground that could potentially cause punctures.