Stage 5 of Rally Dakar 2017
saw its share of terrible weather, miscalculations and surprises as KTM Factory
Team rider Sam Sunderland (bike category) and Peugeot driver Sébastien Loeb
(car category) won the race. Sam Sunderland demonstrated his navigational
skills to win in Oruro, taking advantage of his rivals’ problems, on a special
that was shortened to 219 kilometres due to poor weather. As for Sébastien
Loeb, he picked up his second victory this year in the car category at the end
of a very risky stage.
One notable absentee from the
start line in Tupiza was 2010 winner Carlos Sainz with the significant damage
from his crash down a ravine on Thursday forcing his premature retirement from
Meanwhile, in a fresh development, because of inclement weather Stage 6
was cancelled by the organisers of Dakar Rally. The sixth stage of the 2017
Dakar was to take the participants from Oruro to La Paz. Sunday January 8, 2017
was decided as a rest day. In Stage 6,
the rally was to cover a total of 786 km on the agenda out which the special
distance was a mammoth 527 km, which was supposed to be the longest timed
section in this edition of the Dakar.
Bad weather hit the Dakar rally
on Friday with Stage 5 curtailed after 219km of a 447km route. Having navigated
the first part of the timed stage, the competitors did not start the second
portion after the neutralised zone with the tracks no longer said to be
negotiable on the way to Oruro.
Sam Sunderland has become the
fifth different winner in five stages in the bike race. Juan Pedrero, Toby
Price, Joan Barreda and Matthias Walkner preceded him and now the race is even
more open than ever. Joan Barreda, the undisputed leader of the general
standings the previous evening with a lead of more than 18 minutes, saw his
hopes of keeping the lead cave in Stage5. Firstly, the official Monster Energy
Honda Team rider received a one hour time penalty for having refuelled outside
the authorised zone the previous day, before having a hellish stage and getting
lost after approximately 150 km of the special. The Spaniard lost 37 minutes to
the day’s winner and plunges down the general standings to 1 hour 12 minutes
behind the leader.
The Dakar convoy has now
driven further into the high plains of Bolivia. Sam Sunderland has been
consistent since the start of the rally and was biding his time to make the
perfect strike. He brilliantly achieved his goal on January 7, 2017, with his
second special stage victory on the Dakar that was also synonymous with taking
command of the general standings. The Englishman was the only rider to not get
lost in the Bolivian dunes, unlike Pablo Quintanilla, Xavier de Soultrait,
Matthias Walkner or Joan Barreda, who all lost a lot of ground.
In the car category, Sébastien
Loeb ended the day smiling after obtaining his second victory in 2017 and the
sixth of his young rally raid career, as he calmly resisted a comeback by Nani Roma
at the end of the special, where the Spaniard finished 44 seconds behind the
Frenchman. Stéphane Peterhansel climbs to the top of the general standings, in
which Mikko Hirvonen and Giniel De Villiers have now been considerably
distanced due to navigational mistakes.
In the quad race, Kees Koolen of
Maxxis Super b Dakar Team went flat out to grab his first stage victory on the
Dakar with a big lead over the day’s runner-up Gustavo Gallego. An interesting
fact about Stage 5 winner Kees Koolen is that he has competed at the Dakar in
four different categories. The quad bike is his mode of transport in 2017 and
the Dutchman was in fine form to beat Gustave Gallego by seven minutes. Continuing
their domination in the Quad category, Yamaha riders currently occupy the first
four spots in the class' provisional overall standings. New provisional leader
in the class is Yamaha Raptor 700R mounted Simon Vitse.
In the truck race, Gerard de
Rooy of Iveco grabbed a second consecutive stage victory, has now reached his
cruising speed and has taken command of the general standings. A Kamaz truck
was again runner-up, but this time it was Eduard Nikolaev, who also takes
second place in the general standings.
With already four official
cars, Peugeot has made sure it has the means to dominate the final podium in
Buenos Aires. However, a fifth 3008 DKR has been regularly springing surprises,
with a certain Romain Dumas behind its wheel. The Frenchman is taking part in
his third Dakar and is progressing by improving his best result with every
stage that passes. The former endurance driver broke into the top five on the
fifth stage, less than one minute behind the official Peugeot driven by Cyril
Despres. As a result, he enabled the lion branded constructor to put four cars
among the first five finishers.
Four MINI cars remain in the top ten overall: Poor weather
conditions on the way to the original destination of Oruro meant the second
part of the day’s track was no longer negotiable. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and
Michel Perin (FRA) made an exceptional start to the stage, passing the second
waypoint in third position less than four minutes behind the race leader.
However, the pair’s first mistake in the #303 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car
came in the next section with some navigational difficulty. They finished the
stage in 15th, pushing them to 5th overall but still within reach of the other
It was a more successful day
for the #308 MINI John Cooper Works Rally of Orlando Terranova (ARG) and
co-driver Andreas Schulz (GER) who moved up a place to 7th overall in Stage 5
after finishing 8th in a very difficult stage of the event. The third MINI John
Cooper Works Rally also re-joined proceedings, subject to appeal, with Yazeed
Al Rajhi (KSA) feeling better than the past two days in which he was severely
affected by altitude sickness. With the help of co-driver Timo Gottschalk
(DEU), Al Rajhi steered the #306 car to 13th place today. His official overall
position is still to be confirmed.
Jakub Przygonski (POL) and Tom
Colsoul (BEL) fared well in the #316 MINI ALL4 Racing with a consistent
performance that saw the pair remain in the top ten with a 9th place stage
finish to maintain 6th position overall.
Despite the tough challenges
of the stage, Boris Garafulic (ARG) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR) also
managed to maintain their overall position of 9th with a 14th place stage
The remaining three MINI ALL4
Racing pairings also completed the difficult Stage 5 with Mohamed Abu Issa
(QAT) and Xavier Panseri (FRA) finishing in 31st, one place behind Sylvio
deBarros (BR) and Rafael Capoani (BR). The #325 of the experienced Stephan
Schott (GER) and co-driver Paulo Fiuza (POR) were slightly ahead in 25th
position at the stage end.
Joaquim Rodrigues and C.S.
Santosh further improve their overall standings
HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY: Both Hero Motosports Team Rally riders overcame frigid temperatures,
pouring rain, hail storm and tricky track conditions to further improve their
standings in the overall general classification, while several top riders got a
heavy penalty. Joaquim Rodrigues, started this stage at 17th place after his
rankings further improved overnight on account
of a time refund of 27 minutes for stopping on two separate occasions on
the fourth special to call in the medical helicopter to evacuate two crashed
On the fifth stage in the
morning, he displayed maturity well beyond his rookie’s s status in the Dakar
to overcome the testing conditions of rain and high altitude with a great deal
of panache to complete the abridged stage in 2 hour 48 minutes and 36 seconds.
It put him in 11th place in the day’s classification and 11th place in the
overall provisional general standings.
Santosh, who made substantial
gains in the fourth stage, too kept up the good work. The Indian rider came up
with yet another day of consistent riding without taking undue risks. Starting
the special in 66th place—he gained five places overnight after the final
penalties were calculated—Santosh finished the stage with a time of 3 hour 42
minutes and 37 seconds that pushed him up to 61st place in the day’s standing
placing him in 70th place in the overall provisional general standings.
Van Beveren Takes Yamaha
Inside The Top Three At Dakar Rally 2017
YAMALUBE YAMAHA OFFICIAL RALLY TEAM: Putting in a convincing stage
five performance, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Adrien Van Beveren
managed to earn a spot inside the top three in the 2017 Dakar Rally's
provisional overall standings. Living up to the challenges of a demanding stage
in the Bolivian uplands, Xavier de Soultrait and Hélder Rodrigues both finished
the stage without problems and are provisionally placed sixth and 13th overall
Despite a few minor
navigational mistakes early in the day, WR450F Rally mounted Adrien Van Beveren
quickly got back up to speed and went on to complete a near perfect special for
third overall. Confirming his status as one of the rally's most consistent
competitors, the Frenchman is now third in the provisional overall standings,
one stage before the 2017 Dakar Rally's halfway point.
Continuing to increase his
pace, Adrien's Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partner Hélder Rodrigues
reached the end of the stage without any problems claiming a 19th place result.
Hoping to make the most of his vast experience as the race goes on, the
Portuguese rider is provisionally placed 13th in the rally's overall standings,
a little more than 15 minutes behind the provisional top 10.
Xavier de Soultrait suffered a
series of small navigational mistakes that forced the Yamaha France supported
rider to settle for 16th on stage five. The WR450F mounted rider is currently
sixth in the provisional overall standings and less than 20 minutes behind the
provisional top three.