The 2009 Dakar champion and long-time Toyota HiLux campaigner Giniel De Villiers has taken the 2021 Dakar Stage 5 win.
Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing HiLux) has taken the 2021 Dakar Stage 5 win ahead of the Century CR6 2WD buggy of Brian Baragwanath and the Mini of Stephane Peterhansel (X-Raid Mini JCW Team).
The leading 4WD competitor, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing HiLux) finished the stage in fourth, retaining his second position overall behind Peterhansel but now 6m 11s behind he Frenchman affectionately known as ‘Mr Dakar’. Carlos Sainz (X-Raid Mini JCW Team) retains third overall but is now 48m 13s behind his teammate Peterhansel.
Dakar 2021 Stage 5 consisted a total of 795km with 339km on the road and a long 456km special from Riyadh to Al Qaisumah with plenty of rocky canyon sections and soft sand dunes. It was touted as one of the most difficult stages of the event and it didn’t disappoint. Yesterday’s third-place getter Henk Lategan (Toyota Gazoo Racing HiLux) had a big crash and rollover (see below), and was airlifted to Riyadh Hospital with a suspected collarbone fracture; and many competitors suffered navigation issues while trying to find waypoints.
“I must say that since the beginning things have not really been going our way, but today everything seemed to click,” Giniel De Villiers said after taking the stage win. “Alex (Haro Bravo) 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. In some places the navigation was really, really difficult. This morning we went a little bit wrong, but not too seriously. Then we just had to manage a slow puncture that we had to inflate. The last 120km in the dunes was really, really difficult. They were short dunes, but, for sure, it was a proper Dakar stage.”
In the Bike category, Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team 2021) took the stage win ahead of his teammate Jose Ignacio Cronejo Florimo, while Aussie rider Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) came home in third.
The overall ranking in the Bike category now sees Benavides with a 2m 31s lead over Xavier De Soultrait (HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing) with Florimo in third, just 3m 43s behind the leader. Toby Price is one second behind Florimo in the overall rankings in fourth position.
Of the other Aussie riders, Daniel Sanders (KTM Factory Team) finished the stage in 15th (13th overall) after an early navigation issue saw him lost in a canyon before teaming up with Benavides to find an exit. Michael Burgess (BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team) finished the stage in 39th (38th overall) and Andrew Houlihan (Nomadas Adventure) in 57th (63rd overall).
Dimitry Sotnikov (Kamaz – Master) took yet another stage win in the Truck Category ahead of Aliaksei Vishneuski (Maz-Sportauto) and Anton Shibalov (Kamaz – Master). Sotnikov now leads overall by a seemingly unbeatable 33m 53s… although in Dakar, anything can happen, and probably will with more than a week of racing to go.