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What Dakar 2024 Day 5 Report
Where Shubaytah, Saudi Arabia
When Wednesday 10 January 2024
Community International

SA cars, riders & crews keep on starring in the desert

Nasser Al Attiyah and Mattieu Baumel finally took their turn to win a Dakar stage on the fifth short, sharp 118 km Day 5 dune dash to Shubaytah on Wednesday. The sixth car winners in six days, Attiyah’s first Prodrive win also makes seven different car makes he has won with at the Dakar. The Hunter duo led a line of five South African Toyota Hiluxes home, among them, fourth placed Yazeed al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk extended their overall lead, now over Attiyah. Botswana’s Ross Branch meanwhile retook the bike lead on his Hero as Chilean Pablo Quintanilla’s Honda won Wednesday’s stage deep in Arabian Desert Hidden Quarter.

Wednesday’s first full day of dunes brought a slightly different complexion to the car stage leaderboard, although it was once again Al-Attiyah who set the early pace. Behind him, Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq shrugged off their problems from earlier in the week to bounce back into stage podium contention in their Toyota Hilux. Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger sat third in their petrol-electric Audi.

The ever-present Guillaume de Mevius and Xavier Panseri were next up ahead of a trio of Hiluxes including overall leader, home hero Al Rajhi and Argentine crew Juan Yacopini and Daniel Carreras. Brazilian Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon were the best of the Gazoo Hiluxes in 8th. Californian Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz bounced back in tenth after their Wednesday woes, with SA crew Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy eleventh.

Of South African interest, Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier’s rear-drive leading SA Century CR6-T was 15th. Teen lady sensation Aliyyah Koloc and Sebastien Delaunay were having a good day in 23rd in the best of the Red-Lined REVOs ahead of Nani Roma and Alex Bravo’s SA NWR Ford Ranger. Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings ran 28th in their Gazoo Hilux, Wei Han and Li Ma 31st in the second Red-Lined after nature called early in the stage. Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer’s 4×4 Century re-joined in 36th after missing two days. Hennie de Klerk and Juan Möhr sat 40th in the TreasuryONE Hilux.

Al Rajhi and Yacopini were on the move and up to third and fourth behind Attiyah and Chicherit at mid distance, while de Villiers made good progress. Teammate Moraes was 25 minutes late at the second waypoint, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz’ Audi seemed off its regular pace dropping down to 12th. Then teammate Peterhansel lost ten minutes in the final sector and Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin picked up a 15 minute penalty in the second Prodrive Hunter.

Al Attiyah duly drove home to win his first Dakar stage of 2024 from a line of five SA-built Hiluxes headed by Chicherit in second. Yacopini took third from overall leader Al Rajhi, de Mevius, and de Villiers in the best Gazoo car. Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist rescued Audi’s day, provisionally seventh from consistent crews, Czech privateers Martin Prokop and Viktor Chytka’s Ford Raptor and Lithuanians, Victor Zala and Paulo Fiuza’s Mini. Quintero’s Hilux finished fifth, but a 20 hour penalty relating to his Wednesday ordeal sent him to the back. Serradori’s Century ended 12th, Koloc’s Red-Lined 20th, Han 25th Botterill 27th and Roma 28th

Al Rajhi and Gottschalk’s made in South Africa Toyota Hilux leads the 2024 Dakar by almost nine minutes overall, now over Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel’s Prodrive Hunter. They have a two and a half minute advantage over erstwhile leader Sainz’ Audi, with teammate Ekstrom fourth. Matthieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier are a sensational fifth in the South African 4×2 class leading Century CR-6T, with Peterhansel making it three Audis in the top six. Despite his problems in the day, Moraes remains the best of the Gazoo Hiluxes in tenth from de Villiers and Botterill still handsomely leading the rookie race in 13th. Roma’s Ford sits 16th, and Wei Han’s Red-Lined 21st.

On two wheels, Chilean Pablo Quintanilla took advantage of his low 18th place starting position to lead Californian Honda teammate Ricky Brabec, defending champion Argentine Luciano Benavides’ Husqvarna, Aussie Toby Price on his factory KTM, and Frenchman Adrien van Beveren at the first 35 km waypoint. Ross Branch sat back in eleventh, with South Africans Bradley Cox 20th on his BAS KTM, and Husqvarna duo Charan Moore and Zimbabwean Ashton Thixton 29th and 30th.

The order ebbed and flowed across the Empty Quarter dunes behind the top three, who went on to finish in that order. Behind them, Daniel Sanders’ GasGas jumped up to fourth from Mason Klein’s Kove, Branch who made up five places, Brabec, privateer Stefan Svitko’s KTM, Luciano Benavides and Skyler Howes’ Honda in tenth. Bradley Cox enjoyed his best ride in a few days to end up 17th and fourth in Rally 2, with Thixton and Moore 30th and 31st overall and 13th and 14th in R2, respectively. KTM riding South Africans Ronald Venter was 67th and no service Malle Moto man Stuart Gregory finished 80th.

Chilean Honda overnight leader Nacho Florimo finishing 13th means that Ross Branch moves back into the Dakar 2024 bike lead he had held from the start until yesterday for Hero. He leads Florimo by a minute and 14 seconds, with Brabec third another two and a half minutes adrift, and van Beveren in a Honda 2-3-4, from Kevin Benavides‘ KTM and Quintanilla’s Honda. Cox is 21st overall and fifth in R2, Moore 25th, Thixton 38th, Venter 71st and Gregory 76th.

As quick and simple as Wednesday’s stage was, Thursday is a horse of another colour completely. The unique 620 km two-day Chrono stage overnight stop is a brand new concept for Dakar 2024. Riders and crews will spend the night at one of seven totally isolated bivouacs, depending on which they are closest to at 4 pm Thursday afternoon. They will be rationed six litres of water, a tent, a floor mat, a sleeping bag and survival food. They will have no idea of their rivals’ positions.

The bikes and cars then start Thursday together, with leading crews facing as little as 100 km to the finish ahead of Friday’s rest. Tune in to find out how it all went, same time tomorrow! Your daily Dakar Daily Report is powered by Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa and Tork Craft tools.

Issued on behalf of Dakar 2024 Daily News

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