Huge amounts of sand and ruts were everywhere on the stage causing problems for almost everyone.
Author: Craig Perronne Photos: Courtesy of ASO
Liason: 307 miles Special: 258 miles
Carlos Sainz lost lots of time on today’s stage along with most likely a shot at the overall win.
While Carlos Sainz had been running flat out and challenging the dominance of the huge Monster Energy X-raid MINI team with his Red Bull SMG buggy, that has sadly come to an end for the Spaniard as he encountered significant electrical problems on today’s brutal stage. An electrical gremlin brought the SMG buggy to a full stop and Sainz, along with co-driver Timo Gottschalk, did their best to find the issue and finally got the buggy running again. However a significant amount of time was spent troubleshooting and Sainz would come in just over 1:01:49 behind the stage winner. The significant downtime pushed him to 19th in the stage and sixth overall. The gap is probably impossible for Sainz to overcome in his quest for overall victory at Dakar.
Nani Roma again had a spectacular stage taking both the stage win and putting himself back in the lead overall.
The stage win would go to Sainz’s fellow countryman Nani Roma. The likeable Roma had another spectacular stage in his Monster Energy X-raid MINI racer having a near flawless run and coming in first by over four minutes ahead of second place Giniel De Villiers in his Toyota Hilux. With a slew of solid stage performances by Roma, he has put himself back in the overall lead of the Dakar an opened up a rather large 26 minute and 28 seconds gap over fellow MINI teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Robby Gordon had his best results of the Dakar so far taking third in the stage
Today’s stage was extremely rough being filled with lots of sand and huge ruts. In other words it was the perfect terrain for Robby Gordon and his longer-travel Gordini HST. He was seen on the gas and flying through the stage at full speed, but according to Gordon was simply cruising. “We cruised the whole special and to finish third is amazing,” noted Gordon.
His pace was good enough for third on today’s stage, but navigation was also extremely challenging today and Gordon missed a waypoint, which will result in an one hour penalty being added to his time once assessed. “We all searched around for the waypoint before the transfer on the special and we missed a waypoint. Carlos missed a waypoint and I think Al-Attiyah missed one. That’s going to put us all in really bad shape, but I was already in bad shape. What’s the saying? What’s another drink of water when you’re drowning? One more sip isn’t going to hurt,” shared Gordon.
While Gordon improved, BJ Baldwin slid back down in the rankings. Toward the beginning of the stage Baldwin was running strong feeling at home in the rough terrain. He clawed his way up to 18th after starting 28th and continued running well through the huge ruts and heavy sand of the stage. However, once again vapor lock issues struck his racer slowing him in the final part of the stage. Eventually he would come across the finish line three hours behind Roma in 42nd position.
Giniel De Villiers finally had a strong showing capturing second in the stage piloting his Toyota.
Today’s huge and brutally rough stage claimed some of the best in the sport today. Every one of the competitors that have wandered into the bivouac so far has said that this is one of the hardest Dakars yet and today’s stage was the most difficult. Even Stephane Peterhansel, who is going for his 12th Dakar win said, “ Today was probably the hardest stage we have done in South America in the last five years. It was not easy. There was a lot of off-track camel grass and also the navigation was not easy. We lost a lot of time because we didn’t find a waypoint, but at least we are here at the finish.”
Marc Coma blazes his way through the open terrain of the first part of the stage to take the win on the motorcycles.
Tomorrow’s stage is mercifully shorter, but takes place on the infamous Ruta 40. Once again, the order can easily be changed and dreams of a Dakar overall win destroyed.
Overall Standings as of Stage 5 1 304 ROMA NANI (ESP) MINI 04h27m01s 2 302 DE VILLIERS GINIEL (ZAF) TOYOTA HILUX 04h31m21s +04m20s 3 305 GORDON ROBBY (USA) HUMMER HST 04h47m13s +20m12s 4 307 TERRANOVA ORLANDO (ARG) MINI 04h47m45s +20m44s 5 300 PETERHANSEL STÉPHANE (FRA) MINI 04h50m56s +23m55s 6 322 MALYSZ ADAM (POL) TOYOTA HILUX 04h54m19s +27m18s 7 328 DABROWSKI MAREK (POL) TOYOTA HILUX 04h56m21s +29m20s 8 403 CHAUBET BERNARD (FRA) MITSUBISHI PAJERO 04h59m34s +32m33s 9 325 VAN LOON ERIK (NLD)) FORD HRX 05h06m20s +39m19s 10 314 VASILYEV VLADIMIR (RUS) MINI ALL4 05h11m42s +44m41s