Results from Dakar Rally stage five where Toby Price has won from Pablo Quintanilla with Andrew Short joining his Husqvarna teammate in the day’s top three – Sunderland crashes out.
Day five at the 2020 Dakar Rally was another day when competitors received their roadbooks just prior to the stage start and brought a change in scenery for competitors as they travelled east from Al-‘Ula to Ha’il.
Though it was 100 kilometres shorter than the previous day, today's 353-kilometre timed special was hard physically on the riders. It began with fast, stony tracks similar to the previous day’s before opening out into expansive dunes for a change of riding terrain which meant a lot of standing on the pegs.
The story of the day has to be the ying and yang of motorcycle sport. At one end of the scale KTM got the stage win with Toby Price while his campervan buddy and teammate, Sam Sunderland crashes out the event.
Following his sixth-place finish on Wednesday, Toby Price made good use of his start position and made up time. The Australian pushed hard from the off and moved into the lead by kilometre 152. From there the reigning Dakar champion maintained a strong pace to arrive home over one-minute ahead of Quintanilla.
Overall Price moved to second place, nine minutes down on leader, Honda’s Ricky Brabec.
“It was a good day for me today,” says Price, “we’ve seen a big change in scenery with the last half of the stage in the dunes.
“I got my head down at the start and made some good progress even though it was a bit tricky out there today. I’ve made up some more time on the leaders, which is good and hopefully we’ll have another strong day in the sand tomorrow.
“I want to wish Sam all the best after his fall today too – hopefully he’s back on the bike again soon.”
Overall rally leader, Ricky Brabec remains in control and though he conceded three minutes to Toby Price today, the overall lead of nine minutes in the general standings shows the American has control but he wasn’t full of confidence heading into the last stage before rest day:
“I don’t know anything about sand.” Said Brabec at the finish. “The stage included a lot of HP and a lot of sand dune style riding. Not necessarily sand dunes, but sandy.
“I caught up with the group and we kind of rode together for most of the day, it was really fun. Toby had a little get off back there, but he's alright and we're at the finish. The group was together I'd say for most of the day, after the refuelling. The race is really close.
“Toby made a few minutes on me, I caught Kevin today… I don’t know – tomorrow could be tricky. We'll have to see what happens.”
The trick, it would seem, is not to win the stages outright but keep your powder at least a little dry and not start out among the early riders on the stage. Brabec is managing that game well so far this Dakar but it is problem his Honda teammates, Kevin Benavides and Jose Ignacio suffered from with their P1 and P2 starts today.
Benavides dropped 11 minutes, Cornejo nearly 15 minutes which means a shuffle in the overall order which now shows Honda, KTM, Honda, Husqvarna, Honda instead of the previously very red Honda top three.
The Husqvarna pairing of Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short had a turn of fortunes with second and third on the stage. It was all about the team effort on a physically tough day according to Quintanilla: “Honestly, the stage was tough, but I feel really good. I immediately found a strong rhythm and was able to make good progress. It was dusty up to the refuelling because I had to pass some other riders, but apart from that it was okay.
“After that I was riding with Andrew and we did a really good team job and were able to really push. Yesterday didn’t go so well for me but today I was able to take advantage of the position I had and make up some time.
“Riding 200 kilometres in the dunes was hard – you are on the pegs the whole way and there’s no time to rest. It seems stage six will be similar so I will get some rest tonight and hopefully have another solid day tomorrow.”
Kevin Benavides said a small navigation mistake was the cause of his time loss but remained philosophical about losing P2 overall to Price: “Today was a really hard day physically. We spent a lot of time off-piste, so it was really, really hard. I made a navigation mistake at the beginning, but afterwards, I recovered the time. I caught up with Nacho and Ricky and we arrived at the finish all together. I started in second today, so I’ll lose time for sure, but it was a good stage.”
As we reported earlier, stage five was the end of the Rally for 2017 winner, Sam Sunderland. Those camel grass humps in the desert mean nothing if you’re Carlos Sainz but for the moto riders they can be a nightmare. And so it was for Sunderland who sustained five broken vertebrae and a broken shoulder blade in the crash.
Enduro riders catch-up:
Yes, we know they technically ‘were’ enduro and now ‘are’ rally but we’re keeping hold of them for a while longer!
Jaime Betriu moved into the top 20 overall with another good day in P14. That puts the leading rookie rider this year three places ahead of his girlfriend btw…
Stage five sees Dakar rookie, Jamie McCanney take his factory Yamaha to a best result of 18th place, to move up to 26th overall.
Johnny Aubert was among the many riders getting caught out in the tricky Saudi terrain having a high speed crash which destroyed his roadbook navigation equipment. Johnny thankfully got up and carried on but then was the first rider on the scene of Sunderland's crash. Check the footage here.
Stage six, which many riders will be hoping is at least a little quieter, marks the final day of racing before the rest day. Riders leave Ha’il and head further east toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The second-longest stage of the event, competitors cover a total distance of 830 kilometres, which includes a gruelling 477-kilometre special made up primarily of sandy tracks and dunes.
Dakar Rally Stage 5 results:
Dakar Rally overall results after stage 5:
Full results: Dakar.com/rankingsPhoto Credit: Rally Zone + Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull + C. Lopez/ASO + Yamaha Racing Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org