Matthias Walkner has claimed a third-place finish on stage four of the 2021 Silk Way Rally. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider safely completed the second half of the event’s marathon stage with no issues to successfully extend his lead at the top of the provisional standings. With the event being shortened to just five days, Walkner now faces one final stage before the finish in Gorno-Altaisk tomorrow.
Stage four of the event was an effective re-run of the previous day. Riders left the marathon bivouac in Kosh-Agach and headed north to the start of the timed special for their second run through of the route. Initially extended by 31km to a total of 164km, a GPS problem caused the stage to be cut short, back to its original length. Having already been raced on once, the timed special offered a fresh challenge today with many sections cut up and rutted due to the passage of the cars and trucks on Sunday. Although navigation was less challenging, the nature of the terrain once again tested all competitors with some fast, rocky tracks, and deep river crossings.
As the first rider to enter the day’s special thanks to his win on stage three, Matthias Walkner took a while to get comfortable on his KTM 450 RALLY and the heavily rutted tracks of the stage. With navigation less of a concern however, Walkner soon found his rhythm and was able to get his head down and start to increase his pace. Fighting his way back into the top three at the 133km mark, Matthias was ultimately awarded a third-place finish and will enjoy a strong start position for Tuesday’s stage five.
Matthias Walkner: “Finally, we are back with the teams after the marathon stage. Things went well today, I enjoyed the stage, but it started off very fast, following the tracks from the previous day. There were some really stony places that you had to be really wary of because it’s very easy to lose the front over ground like that. Later on, I felt more comfortable and was able to push a lot harder. I think I made up good time as you didn’t have to focus too much on the road book today, it was just you against the stage. It feels good to put in another solid result, so I’ll relax a little now and get ready for tomorrow’s final stage.”
The Silk Way Rally concludes tomorrow with stage five. Riders will re-run the timed special as used on day two of the event but in a looped format, starting and finishing in Gorno-Altaisk.
2021 Silk Way Rally – Provisional Results, Stage Four
1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 1:22:47
2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 1:23:56 +1:06
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:24:18 +1:28
4. Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 1:24:50 +2:01
5. Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 1:27:30 +4:41
2021 Silk Way Rally – Provisional Standings (after stage four)
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 5:13:57
2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 5:18:44 +4:47
3. Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 5:19:33 +5:36
4. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 5:22:32 +8:35
5. Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 5:22:42 +8:45