Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Ross Branch has charged to an impressive fourth-place finish on stage four of the 2021 Dakar Rally. Continuing with his strong start to the 43rd edition of the race, Ross now moves up to third in the provisional overall classification.
Stage four of the 2021 Dakar Rally provided the longest stage of the event at 813 kilometres, ensuring a gruelling day in the saddle for all competitors. Included was one of the shortest specials at 337 kilometres, which comprised of hardpack tracks and plenty of faster sections, all testing the mettle of each rider. With the stage now complete, and with many kilometres of racing ahead of them, all Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team riders have safely reached the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh.
Ross Branch was the second-fastest rider through all but two checkpoints of stage four as he set a blistering pace aboard his Yamaha WR450F Rally. Enjoying the hardpack, fast and rocky terrain, Ross remained composed after a slight navigational error just 50 kilometres from home to secure his fourth-place finish and now moves up to third in the overall provisional classification.
Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team:
“Today was a good day on the bike for me. I really liked the stage, very similar terrain to what I find back home so I was comfortable from the start. The stage was fast and flowing and I really liked it. Towards the end, I made a small mistake and lost a little bit of time but managed to hold on to second place. I’m excited for tomorrow, it’s been a great rally for me so far.”
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager:
“Another positive day for our riders. The stage was really fast and hardpack, which really suited Ross as it is the terrain that he is used to in Botswana. He was fast all through the stage so finishing second is a great result for him. We are now one-third of the way through the Dakar, a long way to go to reach Jeddah and the finish line and our riders are all riding really well, the bikes are running great and the spirit in the team is strong.”
Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 2:46:50
2. Daniel Sanders (KTM) 2:52:59 + 0:06:09
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:53:12 + 0:06:22
4. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 2:53:47 + 0:06:57
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 4)
1. Xavier de Soultrait (Husqvarna) 15:00:25
2. Joan Barreda (Honda) 15:00:40 + 0:00:15
3. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 15:05:49 + 0:05:24