The Stage 4 of Dakar Rally focused on relocating to Chile by traversing through the remarkable Andes Mountain. For the Toyota Imperial team, Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (#327) made most of the moves and arrived in the town of Copiapo on the 14th place.
Stage 4 saw the teams complete a monster liaison of 594 km, from the Argentine town of Chilecito, across the Chilean border and down from more than 4,600 m above sea level to the mining town of Copiapo.
While the town itself may be more famous for the miners who were epically rescued there in 2010, to motorsport fans the world over it is synonymous with the massive dune that sees crews descend from the Andes and almost straight into the bivouac.
For Poulter/Howie it was a day of recovery, after they lost nearly an hour on Stage 3. Still, the pair battled on and called upon their so-called ‘joker’, which allows them to improve their start time once during the event. As such they pulled away 19th on the road, despite recording only the 40th-fastest time on Stage 3. This allowed them to work their way through the field, reclaiming nine positions in the process.
Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz (#303) posted another great stage time, despite having to open most of the route after the demise of MINI driver Orlando Terranova. The Argentine driver, who won Stage 3 of the event, lost a mass of time after contact with a rock took out the rear suspension of his race vehicle.
The Toyota Imperial Hilux pair completed the stage in third position, behind leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI) and Nani Roma (MINI), losing 2:57 to the overall Al-Attiyah in the process. This places them 8:15 behind Al-Attiyah in the overall standings, with Saudi debutant Yazeed Alrajhi (Toyota Hilux) more than 15 minutes behind them in third.