Barreda came in over a minute ahead of Rodrigues and cut leader Cyril Despres’ overall advantage down by over 12 minutes. Barreda holds on to second overall place but is now just 5min 33secs behind the leader.
Helder Rodrigues took the start of the 246km stage in 11th position due to the 14-hour penalty he got yesterday for not finishing the stage. The Portuguese struggled a bit at the beginning to get into the concentration again, but he recovered quickly finishing second behind Barreda.
“I started in the back and I was determined to win the stage, but at the beginning I struggled to maintain the concentration, after having spent 5 hours yesterday in the desert with the air temperature hitting 58°C,” said Rodrigues. “Then I went into my race pace again, finishing the stage in second behind Barreda.”
A promising 3rd finish for the 23-year-old Sam Sunderland, who didn’t make any mistakes on navigation and enjoyed the varied selective sector, characterized by hard terrains, fech-fech, dunes and a very fast final part of the stage.
“Today’s stage was very varied with hard terrain at the start, then sandy dunes broken by trails and dunes again,” commented Sunderland. “The final part was very fast with many danger 2 warnings. After yesterday’s 30-minute penalty for missing a waypoint, today I stopped to make sure I was right, but it’s better to loose 3 minutes than 30. All in all, it was a positive stage.”
After a mixed day in the desert, KTM factory rider Cyril Despres managed to hang on to the overall lead in the Morocco Rally on Friday's penultimate. Despres, eventually finished the stage in ninth position, 12 minutes behind stage winner Barreda.
Speaking after the stage Cyril said it had been ‘not a bad day but also not perfect’.
“The first kilometers were not on the road book and I wasn’t sure I had the right bearing so I decided to turn back to check that I was right,” he commented. “After that it was not easy because there were many tracks from the other riders and other vehicles. I had two options, to follow the tracks or to make my own and I decided to make my own and when you do it like this, it can cost time. The last part was very fast and I was trying to push as much as I could. Tomorrow is a shorter stage and I will of course do everything I can to take the victory.”
Results Stage Five (246 km timed, total of 427km)
1, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna two hours 42.55
2, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Honda, +1min 20sec
3, Sam Sunderland, Britain, Honda +4min 23sec
4, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM +7min 34sec
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna +7min 46sec
Standings after Stage 5 (penultimate stage)
1, Despres 16 hours 07.19
2, Barreda +5min 33sec
3, Lopez +31min 58sec
4, Verhoeven +36min 37sec
5, Sunderland +39min14sec