Bengaluru, January 7: Three-time champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah cut Stephane Peterhansel's lead to under five minutes as he sealed a third consecutive stage win with the Dakar Rally 2021 reaching Riyadh via a mixture of Saudi Arabian terrain including dunes and fast-paced tracks.
Al Attiyah and Peterhansel were closely matched throughout stage four, the former taking the win by a mere 11sec at the finish.
"It's been difficult in these early stages to make a big difference but I'm happy," said Qatari ace Al Attiyah, who has Frenchman Matthieu Baumel as his co-driver.
Peterhansel admitted he had felt on the edge before arriving in Riyadh as he bids for a 14th title in the event.
"It felt risky to be so close to the maximum all day," the Frenchman admitted.
His countryman Sebastien Loeb climbed up to fourth overall with another strong showing and credited his car with 'having no problems' but defending champion Carlos Sainz remains in third spot and a place ahead in the standings.
Cyril Despres, Giniel de Villiers and Kuba Przygoński all had consistent performances to keep them in the hunt in the overall standings.
It is a one night stay in Riyadh for the Dakar Rally convoy as Thursday (January 7) morning sees the competitors setting off Al Qaisumah.
A tough dune section in the middle of the 456kms timed special stage is expected to bring down the average speed.
(Source: Red Bull Media)