On a day where most frontrunners found ways to pad their leads, Monster Energy Honda rider Kevin Benavides was the only Dakar Rally competitor to find himself atop his class standings for the first time after today’s trek from Riyadh to Al Qaisumah. Benavides’ fourth career stage victory enabled him to take over the top spot from Husqvarna’s Xavier de Soultrait, as racers close in on the halfway point and rest day of the grueling two-week event.
The Argentinian’s lead stands at 2:31 over de Soultrait, with six riders within 10 minutes of the top spot and another eight within half an hour of the lead. That latter group includes Americans Skyler Howes, seventh overall at 10:45 back after a seventh place run today, and defending champion Ricky Brabec, who sits 14th overall at 25:09 back after coming in 12th on the stage.
Other than that, all of the current stage leaders either topped the charts today, or still found ways to extend their overall leads. In the car class, Stephane Peterhansel finished third to Giniel de Villiers and Brian Baragwanath today, but still gained more than two minutes on Nasser Al-Attiyah for the overall lead. Carlos Sainz struggled once again with navigation issues to slip further back in third, while Sebastien Loeb plummeted to 10th overall with a 20th place finish on the day and promising rookie Henk Lategaan crashed and broke his collarbone.
Stage wins in T4 SSV for Chaleco Lopez and T3 for Seth Quintero allowed each to extend their gaps, with Quintero’s lead over Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero now the largest advantage of the rally at over an hour and 20 minutes. Aron Domzala remains within 10 minutes of Lopez for second in T4, with American Austin Jones not far off in third.
Coming into the day, no two classes had been more different on leads than the quads and trucks, with Nicolas Cavigliasso’s lead in the former at nine seconds and Dmitry Sotnikov’s in the latter at more than 26 minutes. That all changed today as both took stage victories, with Cavigliasso’s new lead of 23:48 over Manuel Andujar looking more and more like Sotnikov’s dominant 33:53 advantage over Kamaz teammate Anton Shibalov. In the Dakar Classic, Marc Douton also continued to do more of the same, once again posting the day’s lowest score and growing the gap between himself and Juan Donatiu by a further 100 points.
The last stage before this year’s rest day will take racers from Al Qaisumah to Ha’il, with 448 kilometers of special stages and 170 more of transit. As always, coverage from the past two days of this year’s Dakar Rally will air tonight at 6PM ET/3PM PT on NBCSN.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 5 Winners
- Motorcycle: Kevin Benavides, 5:09:50
- Quad: Nicolas Cavigliasso, 6:09:42
- Car: Giniel de Villiers, 5:09:25
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 5:49:43
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 5:47:32
- Truck: Dmitry Sotnikov, 5:30:20
- Classic: Marc Douton, 116 points
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|1st||K. Benavides||N. Cavigliasso||S. Peterhansel||F. Lopez Contardo||D. Sotnikov|
|2nd||X. de Soultrait||M. Andujar||N. Al-Attiyah||A. Domzala||A. Shibalov|
|3rd||J. I. Cornejo Florimo||A. Giroud||C. Sainz||A. Jones||M. Macik|
|4th||T. Price||G. Enrico||J. Przygonski||S. Quintero||A. Loprais|
|5th||S. Sunderland||I. Pedemonte||M. Prokop||S. Alsaif||A. Mardeev|