Loeb wins fifth Dakar stage, Al-Attiyah stays on top overall
Toyota Hilux driver extends his lead to over 24 minutes in the Peruvian desert
Sebastien Loeb won the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally in Peru on Friday while Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah extended his overall lead.
Frenchman Loeb, a nine times world rally champion, beat Al-Attiyah by more than 10 minutes after the 519 km timed stage from Tacna to the city of Arequipa.
It was Loeb's second stage victory of this year's edition in a privately-entered Peugeot, after he was also fastest on the second day, and moved him up to fifth overall but 40 minutes off the lead.
Twice Dakar winner Al-Attiyah, in an SA-built Toyota Hilux, increased his lead over second-placed Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, driving an X-raid Mini, to 24 minutes and 42 seconds with Spaniard Nani Roma (Mini) third.
Thirteen times champion Peterhansel finished fourth in the stage, 16 minutes behind the Qatari.
“We had a very good marathon stage yesterday,” said Al Attiyah after reaching the bivouac at Arequipa. “The car was in perfect condition despite the long stage, but we decided to moderate our pace somewhat today. Even so, we are happy to have gone second-fastest on the day – and even happier to be leading the Dakar at the halfway mark.”
Stage five also saw a consolidation for the remaining Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crews, as both Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke posted top 10 times throughout the stage. This puts both crews in strong positions to support Al Attiyah for stage six, as well as the remainder of the rally.
De Villiers and Ten Brinke both suffered damage to their Hiluxes earlier in the week, and lost several hours and any chance of winning this year’s rally.
“We overtook a lot of competitors today, which was needed in order to allow us to do our jobs now, which is to support Nasser and Mathieu in their quest to win the Dakar for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA,” said De Villiers after Friday’s stage.
Saturday is a rest day, which marks the midpoint of the rally. All the race crews will be taking a break on January 12th, giving the technical crews the opportunity to prepare the cars for the final five stages of the race.
In the motorcycle category, Britain's Sam Sunderland on a KTM won stage five and moved up to second overall behind American Ricky Brabe (Honda).
Sunderland had finished down the order after losing more than 10 minutes because he stopped to help injured Honda rider Paulo Goncalves. The time was later adjusted to take that into consideration.
The endurance rally, staged in South America since being switched from Africa in 2009 for security reasons, ends in Lima on January 17.
STAGE 5 RESULTS (CARS):
- Loeb / Elena (Peugeot)
- Al Attiyah / Baumel (TOYOTA) +10:22
- Roma / Haro (MINI) +24:04
- Peterhansel / Castera (MINI) +26:09
- Przygonski / Colsoul (MINI) +26:17
- Despres / Cottret (MINI) +32:38
- Hunt / Rosegaar (Peugeot) +32:40
- Prokop / Tomanek (Ford) +36:28
- De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz (TOYOTA) +37:55
- Ten Brinke / Panseri (TOYOTA) +42:31
OVERALL CAR STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 5:
- Al Attiyah / Baumel (TOYOTA)
- Peterhansel / Castera +24:42
- Roma / Haro (MINI) +34:33
- Przygonski / Colsoul (MINI) +38:12
- Loeb / Elena (Peugeot) +40:00
- Despres / Cottret (MINI) +01:12:47
- Hunt / Rosegaar (Peugeot) +01:59:55
- Prokop / Tomanek (Ford) +02:13:57
- Garafulic / Palmeiro (MINI) +02:18:20
- Vanagas / Rozwadowski (TOYOTA) +02:44:41