Four-time and defending Dakar Rally car class winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and motorcycle veteran Adrien Van Beveren won their respective classes in today’s fifth stage of the event, the second consecutive loop stage based in Ha’il. Van Beveren’s first stage win of this year’s running, his first year of competing with Honda, came by just 13 seconds over Nacho Cornejo, and enabled him to grab fifth place in the overall rankings.
But the big winner on the day may have been American rider Skyler Howes, the new overall motorcycle leader. Formerly a beloved privateer rider, Howes’ first factory-backed Dakar with Husqvarna ended after five stages last year; this time around, he’s got a two-minute advantage over Dakar legend Toby Price through as many stages. With four consecutive top-five stage finishes, Howes hasn’t been out of the overall top 10 for a single day thus far. Incoming leader Daniel Sanders sunk to eighth overall after finishing 21st on stage, but the top eight remain split by less than 20 minutes.
Al-Attiyah’s second stage win of the event enabled him to add nearly two minutes on Carlos Sainz, who finished second on stage and currently sits fourth overall, and almost four on Stephane Peterhansel, who remains second overall. Good fortune continues to evade Sebastien Loeb, who finished ninth on stage and continues to approach the overall top 10, but still lost another likely stage win due to a crash that forced a wheel change.
In T3 Lightweight Prototype, the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team continues to have the dominant vehicle, but which driver gets to benefit from the Overdrive OT3 continues to change day by day. Seth Quintero finally scored his first stage win of the year by nearly five minutes over Chaleco Lopez, but incoming leader Mitch Guthrie Jr. lost four hours on stage before halfway and later took penalties that have ended his hopes of an overall win. Guthrie’s struggles opened the door for Guillaume De Mevius to take the class lead, but last year’s T4 winner AJ Jones remains second, just over seven minutes behind.
Rokas Baciuska topped the stage rankings in T4 as Rodrigo Luppi padded his overall lead slightly on Eryk Goczal, while Francisco Moreno Flores cut seven minutes into Alexandre Giroud’s class lead with a stage win of his own. Ales Loprais completed the stage winners on the day to continue extending his overall lead in the trucks.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 5 winners were as follows:
- Bikes: Adrien Van Beveren, 4:27:28
- Quads: Francisco Moreno Flores, 5:49:21
- Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah, 4:13:23
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 4:59:55
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 5:02:52
- Truck: Ales Loprais, 5:06:57
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Bikes: Skyler Howes, 23:16:37
- Quads: Alexandre Giroud, 28:46:12
- Cars: Nasser Al’Attiyah, 20:47:36
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 24:15:39
- SSV: Rodrigo Luppi, 25:13:20
- Truck: Ales Loprais, 24:30:26
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 6 takes racers to Al Duwadimi, as the longest two special stages of the rally will greet them over the next two days.