Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Defending champion Toby Price crashed out of the bike category at the 2017 Dakar Rally as Matthias Walkner captured the victory during Stage 4 on Thursday.

Joan Barreda placed second behind the Austrian winner in the race from San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina, to Tupiza, Bolivia—maintaining his chances of overall glory.

The Spanish ace finished just over two minutes shy of Walkner’s pace over the 521-kilometre course.

French racer Cyril Despres won in the car class as overall leader Sebastien Loeb trailed home in fifth place, losing 22 minutes over the day.

Walter Nosiglia was the kingpin of the quad section as the rally crossed the national border, winning the stage by over 11 minutes. Leandro Torres of Brazil won the UTV section, while Gerard de Rooy was victorious in the truck category.  

The competition’s official Twitter account announced the stage results in the main events:

Here’s what the schedule looks like for the rest of the rally:

5 Friday, Jan. 6 692 692 683
6 Saturday, Jan. 7 786 786 772
Rest Day Sunday, Jan. 8
7 Monday, Jan. 9 622 622 622
8 Tuesday, Jan. 10 892 892 892
9 Wednesday, Jan. 11 977 977 977
10 Thursday, Jan. 12 751 751 751
11 Friday, Jan. 13 759 759 759
12 Saturday, Jan. 14 786 786 786


For full route information, visit the competition’s official website.


Thursday Recap

Walkner’s efforts were unmatched as the Austrian speed merchant powered home to topple the field on Thursday.

However, the story of the day unravelled when Price—who struggled on Wednesday—crashed out of the competition as he attempted to reclaim lost time.

The Australian was injured, as the Dakar Rally’s official Twitter account announced:

With Price eliminated, Barreda’s chances of glory have increased considerably.

The brilliant Spanish star—who has shined in this year’s rally—stayed close to the eventual winner, minimising the time lost to Walkner.

Barreda destroyed the field to win Stage 3, and he maintained his form on his Honda all the way to Bolivia.

The rider was satisfied with his efforts, per the Dakar Rally:

Walkner was delighted with his victory, but he was humble as he remembered Price, wishing him a speedy recovery after his catastrophic end:

Despres was a cut above the rest in Stage 4 and a clear winner in the car category.

Loeb had a difficult day, as did previous stage winner Stephane Peterhansel.

The veteran Frenchman lost his way as he pushed forward, and Loeb also found the course difficult to tackle.

The Dakar Rally highlighted Loeb’s frustration as he conceded a large slice of time:

The rally is beginning to plateau, and the top drivers are finding their paces.

The competitors have two more stages to contest before a much-needed rest day allows the field to recharge their batteries.

Loeb will be devastated with his performance, as he attempted to take one more step toward the title on Thursday.

However, the biggest sympathy goes to Price. There was serious concern for him as he crashed out, and a number of his colleagues were keen to learn of his condition when they arrived in Tupiza.

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