Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers claimed his first stage win of this year’s Dakar Rally as Stéphane Peterhansel extended his lead in the overall classification over Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Alongside co-driver Alex Haro, de Villiers set a time of 5hrs09m despite suffering a slow puncture in the second half to finish 58s clear of Brian Baragwanath’s Century CR6.
“I must say that since the beginning things have not really been going our way, but today everything seemed to click,” de Villiers said.
“Alex did a great job with the navigation today. We took it a little bit calmer at the beginning just to make sure we got all the points. It was a proper Dakar stage.”
Leaving the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, the 295-mile stage – of which 209.4 miles were timed – caused a number of navigational problems, most notably for Peterhansel’s X-raid Mini JCW team-mate Carlos Sainz who got lost for the fourth day in succession.
The 2020 Dakar winner lost over half an hour on stage three and shipped another 30 minutes before the first waypoint of the Riyadh-Al Qaisumah test. Images also appeared to suggest that Sainz punctured during the stage as well (below).
Sainz recovered some time by the end of the stage, finishing 15 minutes behind de Villiers, but is now 48 minutes behind Peterhansel with only one stage to go before rest day.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sébastien Loeb also got lost early in the stage, losing 30 minutes before dropping another 28 minutes by the second waypoint as the Frenchman suffered another three punctures.
De Villiers’ Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Henk Lategan suffered the worst on stage five, however, crashing heavily and breaking his collarbone in the process.
The rookie, who was in the top three of each of the previous two stages, came to a halt inside the opening 12 miles, rolling his Hilux and escaping through the front of his car.
🚗 4th in the GC this morning, @henk_lategan suffered a spectacular accident at the beginning of the special. He has fractured his collarbone and has been airlifted to Riyadh. His co-driver @BrettCummings83 was unharmed. 🚑#Dakar2021 pic.twitter.com/F1o9BSlaIK
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 7, 2021
Lategan was airlifted to the start of the stage by helicopter along with co-driver Brett Cummings, with the latter unharmed in the incident.
SRT Racing’s Mathieu Serradori also endured another difficult day in his Century CR6. The Frenchman, who got lost yesterday while being navigated by Belgian co-driver Fabian Lurquin, lost a wheel before the first waypoint and was forced to call his assistance truck, dropping him nearly two hours.
De Villiers, who started 15th on the road, avoided problems and took his first Dakar stage win since stage two last year. He is currently 12th in the overall classification, 1h57m behind Peterhansel.
Baragwanath, the star of the prologue, finished a strong second to de Villiers on the stage and was 58s behind his fellow South African. Orlen Benzina Team’s Martin Prokop had occupied the third fastest time for most of the stage but fell off the pace in the last sections and was fifth quickest.
In the hunt for the overall lead, it was another closely fought stage between Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah, who ended the stage third and fourth respectively.
Al-Attiyah started the day just under 3m58s adrift of Peterhansel, after the leader was handed a one-minute penalty at the end of stage four, and initially looked like taking more time out of the Frenchman.
He had closed in by 19s at the third waypoint, but Peterhansel hit back in the second half of the stage and gapped Al-Attiyah by 2m13s to take his overall lead back out to over six minutes.
Spaniards Orlando Terranova (X-raid) and Nani Roma (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) were some way further back in seventh and eighth on the stage, and the lost Sainz finished ninth.
Yazeed Al Rajhi also suffered for the second day in a row, with the Saudi driver losing 10 minutes after puncturing three times, but recovering to go sixth fastest with an impressive pace afterwards.
In the overall, Overdrive Racing’s Jakub Przygónski moved up to fourth at the expense of the unfortunate Lategan, while Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Prokop were elevated to fifth and sixth respectively following the troubles for Serradori and Loeb.
Lopez Contardo and Quintero in command of class leads
Francisco Lopez Contardo holds a commanding lead in the T4 class of the SSV category, as Monster Energy Team’s Aron Domzala dropped over seven minutes in the stage.
Khalifa Al-Attiyah made it a South Racing Can-Am one-two on the stage, finishing 2m52s behind Lopez Contardo, with Austin Jones third in T4, over two minutes behind T3 stage winner Seth Quintero.
Reinaldo Varela’s struggles continued in stage five after stopping between the fifth and sixth waypoint. Varela had been setting the fastest time until his stoppage but dropped nearly 50 minutes by the end.
Quintero moved into the lead of T3 in stage four after Red Bull Off-Road Junior team-mate Cristina Gutierrez lost 50 minutes, and on stage five extended his lead to over 1h20m over Gutierrez.
The closest challenger to Quintero in stage five was the third Red Bull OT3 Lightweight Prototype of Mitch Guthrie, albeit 13m2s adrift of his American team-mate.
X-raid Team’s Mattias Ekström came home 58 minutes slower than Lopez Contardo and 19 minutes adrift of Gutierrez in his Yamaha YXZ1000R. The 2016 World Rallycross Champion remains third in the T3 class, 10 minutes ahead of Jean-Luc Pisson’s PH Sport Zephyr.
Pisson’s team-mate Kris Meeke also seems to have hit trouble again, as the Northern Irishman appeared to have stopped on the stage just after the eighth waypoint. He is yet to complete the stage.
Stage 5 (Riyadh – Al Qaisumah) result
1 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro Bravo (Toyota Gazoo Racing) 5h09m25s
2 Brian Baragwanath/Taye Perry (Century Racing) +58s
3 Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger (X-raid Mini JCW) +2m25s
4 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +4m38s
5 Martin Prokop/Viktor Chytka (Orlen Benzina Team Ford) +5m06s
6 Yazeed Al Rajhi/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (Overdrive Racing Toyota) +9m16s
7 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (X-raid Mini JCW) +9m24s
8 Nani Roma/Alex Winocq (Bahrain Raid Xtreme Hunter) +10m31s
9 Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (X-raid Mini JCW) +15m19s
10 Jakub Przygónski/Timo Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing Toyota) +18m58s
Overall classification after Stage 5
1 Peterhansel/Boulanger (X-raid Mini JCW) 18h28m02s
2 Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +6m11s
3 Sainz/Cruz (X-raid Mini JCW) +48m13s
4 Przygónski/Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing Toyota) +1h04m49s
5 Prokop/Chytka (Orlen Benzina Team Ford) +1h10m32s
6 Al Qassimi/Panseri (Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot) +1h21m21s
7 Roma/Winocq (Bahrain Raid Xtreme Hunter) +1h24m56s
8 Terranova/Graue (X-raid Mini JCW) +1h30m05s
9 Baragwanath/Perry (Century Racing) +1h38m50s
10 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Bahrain Raid Xtreme Hunter) +1h40m07s