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The terrain in the fifth stage featured almost 350km of dunes and sand trails enroute Al-`Ula to Ha’il
The 42nd edition of the Dakar has reached its fifth stage, with the team taking on more dunes this time on the 353km special from Al Ula to Ha’il. The previous stages already proved to be tough, but the Dakar gets even tougher and would demand tons of grit from the rally pilots.
Carlos Sainz pushed the X-Raid Mini even harder this time, carefully navigating around the dunes to take yet another stage win. As seen in some fan videos, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al Attiyah was pumped up, making most of the fast swooping sections with the help of co-driver Matthieu Baumel. Orlando Terranova managed to sneak onto the champs, finishing fifth in the stage and fifth place overall. Multiple-time Dakar champ Stephane Peterhansel kept it steady as can be, with a third place finish in stage 5 and third in the overall standings, contesting closely with Nasser. Fernando Alonso attempts to climb up with a seventh place finish in the stage, putting him in 18th position on the standings. Borgward’s Nani Roma is having a hard time catching up with the front-runners, and is currently running 33rd in the standings.
Missed out on the previous stages? Find them here
We could jinx the fact that KTM’s campaign may lead to their 19th consecutive Dakar win, with Toby Price at the helm. However, Sam Sunderland, who was in the lead, crashed out during the fifth stage (breaking five vertebrae and a shoulder blade), giving Monster Energy Honda’s Ricky Brabec the lead, with fellow KTM rider Toby Price on his tail.
Hero Motosports Team Rally consolidated their position in stage 5, the intimidating rocks in the 353km special stage serving as landmarks to avoid costly navigation mistakes. In all this, Paulo ‘Speedy’ Goncalves continued to push forward, delivering yet another top 10 finish, closing the stage in the 10th place.Teammate Sebastian Buhler maintained his good form, finishing 21st (maintaining his overall top 20 spot), while C S Santosh too maintained a steady rhythm, coming in 37th (and breaking into the overall top 40 standings). The last man on the roster, Joaquim ‘JRod’ Rodrigues suffered a minor crash, but kept his spirit up, finishing the stage in 25th position.
Lastly, Sherco TVS rally pilot Adrien Metge is in 11th position overall, post his 17th place finish in stage 5. Teammate Lorenzo Santolino finished 15th while Johnny Aubert followed him at the 16th spot. Sherco’s Harith Noah, the only Indian besides C S Santosh at the 2020 Dakar, finished 37th, his efforts no longer landing him a spot in the standings. That said, he does get to finish the rally.