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Tuesday's fourth stage was the longest so far and it also saw a change in the lead as KTM rider Cyril Despres fell behind, allowing Frenchman Olivier Pain (Yamaha) to take the overall lead.
Pain was able to do this with a second place finish on the stage. He came home 8m23s behind Spanish rider Joan Barreda Bort (Husqvarna), but over two minutes ahead of fellow Frenchman David Casteu, who moves from fifth to second in the overall race.
Knowing all too well how tough the Dakar can be, Pain took a modest attitude towards his win: "I don't want to get overexcited about my place in the overall, the rally's still long and my objective is to finish in the Top 10 every day, and I hope to continue doing this well until the end."
On the South African front, Riaan van Niekerk moved from 25th to 19th overall after completing the stage in a credible 11th place, while his KTM team-mate Darryl Curtis finished 22nd and now stands in 14th place overall.
In the quads race, SA's Sarel van Biljon (E-ATV) finished in eighth place to move up to seventh overall, 1h40m behind the Yamaha of category leader Marcos Patronelli.
RESULTS - STAGE 4
1. Joan Barreda Bort (Husqvarna) 3h41:09
2. Olivier Pain (Yamaha) +8:23
3. David Casteu (Yamaha) +10:42
4. Gerard Farres Guell (Honda) +11:40
5. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) +11:43
6. Ruben Faria (KTM) +12:18
7. Javier Pizzolito (Honda) +12:32
8. Jordi Viladoms (Husqvarna) +12:40
9. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) +14:01
10. Alain Duclos (Sherco) +14:11
1. Olivier Pain (Yamaha) 10h10m38
2. David Casteu (Yamaha) +2m24
3. Cyril Despres (KTM) +3:09
4. Joan Barreda Bort (Husqvarna) +5:38
5. Jordi Viladoms (Husqvarna) +7:22
6. Ruben Faria (KTM) +8:39
7. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (Honda) +9:05
8. Francisco Chaleco Lopez (KTM) +10:01
9. Alessandro Botturi (Husqvarna) +11:44
10. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) +14:20