Dakar 2021 Stage 5 results were, once again, all over the place: the 205km liaison and 456 km special cost a lot of riders time because of tricky navigation and harsh terrain. Kevin Benavides (Honda) won the stage today, placing him first in the general rankings. Benavides suffered a bad crash during the stage but kept pushing on: “It was a really hard day for me. At the beginning, I got lost like all the riders, but after that, I started to push a lot. On one big dune I jumped, I crashed because I hit another big one with the front wheel. I banged my head and broke the GPS and everything. I cut myself too and started to lose a lot of blood. There was also some pain around my ankle. In the end, I continued and kept pushing with a lot of pain, so, yeah, it was really hard for me today. My nose is broken and also I broke the helmet, it was really hard. I think I’ll be okay for tomorrow. I’m in pain, but it will be ok. I also tried to push on the last part to win some time, but it was hard and there was a lot of pain today. But it’s like that, this is the Dakar”, the Argentinian said after the stage finish.
He wasn’t alone suffering today: Spaniard Joan Barreda, who came in 9th, also admitted today’s stage was extremely brutal. “Today was a really difficult stage, really hard. One of the most demanding physically. On the last section, there were a lot of dunes and also at the beginning with a lot of tricky navigation”, Barreda shared.
The second and third today were french Xavier du Soultrait (Husqvarna) and Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda), With Toby Price (KTM) and Sam Sunderland (KTM) coming in third and fourth. American privateer Skyler Howes finished 7th today, placing him seventh in the general rankings. Ricky Brabec came in 12th today and is now 14th in the overall rankings.
Ross Branch, the Botswanan Kalahari Ferrari, is now 8th overall.
ASO Suffering More Criticism
As the race reaches its midway point, more competitors are voicing their complaints about the organization of the rally. Andrew Short’s withdrawal several days ago caused Yamaha to file a complaint with the FIM as it turned out Short’s (and several other competitors’) fuel was contaminated and two liters of water were found in his tank after the bike had been transported to the bivouac. Today, Dakar legend Sebastien Loeb called the race stewards “incompetent” over a 5-minute speed penalty he felt he didn’t deserve:
“You’ve been getting to know me a little bit over the years and I very seldom make a face. But tonight, I need to share with you the incompetence of the stewards’ panel of such a mythical event as the Dakar Rally. We have just been penalized by 5 minutes for exceeding the speed limit in a controlled zone. During all my participations, during all the stages and during all the speed control zones, I have always done my best to respect this rule. The only condition is that the GPS system, via an alarm, tells us when we enter these “invisible” zones. Today, in this zone where we are penalized, the alarm did not sound when we entered the zone. So I couldn’t slow down in time. In spite of our explanations but especially in spite of the GPS system provider’s admission of a problem with his equipment in our car today (something that can happen of course), the jury of stewards didn’t want to know anything and decided, sitting loosely behind his desk with the only risk of spilling his coffee when we risk our lives every day in the car, to impose a penalty much higher than what this GPS ‘bug’ made us save … About 2 to 3 seconds by being generous. I am a passionate person but I am above all a competitor. And today, if I am on a race like the Dakar, it is, first of all, to achieve what I am employed for: to sign a result that is worthy of the team’s ambitions and worthy of my ambitions. And for that, there is no room for incompetence or incompetents”, Loeb posted on his Instagram after the stage. The penalty had cost him falling back to the seventh position overall.
With seven more days of racing to go, there’s no telling how this Dakar will unfold. Tomorrow, competitors are facing a 170km liaison and a grueling 448km special over endless Saudi dunes, and the top positions may change yet again.
Today’s stage rankings:
(ARG) KEVIN BENAVIDES
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||05H 09′ 50”|
|2||4||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||05H 10′ 50”|
(AUS) TOBY PRICE
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||05H 11′ 10”|
(ESP) LORENZO SANTOLINO
|SHERCO FACTORY||05H 12′ 19”|
(GBR) SAM SUNDERLAND
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||05H 14′ 07”|
(FRA) XAVIER DE SOULTRAIT
|HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING||05H 17′ 45”|
(USA) SKYLER HOWES
|BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||05H 20′ 33”|
(AUT) MATTHIAS WALKNER
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||05H 20′ 53”|
(BWA) ROSS BRANCH
|MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||05H 20′ 55”|
(CHL) PABLO QUINTANILLA
|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||05H 22′ 05”|
(SVK) STEFAN SVITKO
|SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||05H 23′ 29”|
(USA) RICKY BRABEC
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||05H 24′ 02”|
(ARG) LUCIANO BENAVIDES
|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||05H 24′ 13”|
(POL) MACIEJ GIEMZA
|ORLEN TEAM||05H 25′ 40”|
(AUS) DANIEL SANDERS
|KTM FACTORY TEAM||05H 25′ 51”|
(ESP) JAUME BETRIU
|FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||05H 28′ 17”|
(ESP) JOAN BARREDA BORT
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||05H 29′ 01”|
(ARG) FRANCO CAIMI
|MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||05H 34′ 24”|
(CZE) MARTIN MICHEK
|ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||05H 37′ 03”|
(DEU) SEBASTIAN BÜHLER
|HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||05H 40′ 14”|