Dakar's Stage 5 proves a strategic leg of this monstrous rally

Stage 5 of Dakar continues to build on what, so far, has been an exciting rally and a better performance given by South African drivers.

Jordan Schmidt
January 11, 2024
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Dakar's Stage 5 proves a strategic leg of this monstrous rally


Stage 5 took place in a movie-like desert scene, with rolling dunes as far as the eye can see and a selection of racers itching to get going. Immediately, the startline posed the first issue of the day for all competitors as the race organisers handed out race books with missing information, further increasing the difficulty level.


After briefly discussing the importance of consistency in this rally, the leaders are showing what to do and what not to do. The leader of the day was Nasser Al-Attiyah, who continues to impress with his consistency, overtaking the Audi of Carlos Sainz Sr. Sainz had a tough stage, finishing in a painful 28th in his electric racer.


Overall leader Yazeed Al Rajhi also exhibited consistency in his drive, coming home in fourth. Stage 5 was a tight race; with the second, third, and fourth placers all finishing within 10 seconds of one another and 2 minutes off the stage winner.


There is a strategic interest in not winning Stage 5, as Stage 6 is a lengthy 758-kilometre route, and competitors do not want to start the day off by running the risk of getting lost. Sebastien Loeb's strategy involved intentionally picking up a penalty to start further back in the pack, handing Nasser Al-Attiyah the win on a platter and the prize of being the first car to start the subsequent stage. This strategy was a calculated move to gain an advantage in the race.


Good news for the local boys, as Stage 5 proved to be more favourable for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, finding their way back into the top 10 with a seventh place. Guy David Botterill and Brett Cummings finished in 45th, Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer finished 54th in their Century and it was a generally better day for Saood Variawa, who finished in 67th.


Stage 5 proved to favour the Overdrive Racing team and the lightweight prototype vehicles, with four Overdrive teams in the top five and three buggies in the top 10 placements. Here are the results for Stage 5:


  1. 200, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Nasser Racing
  2. 211, Guerlain Chicherit, Overdrive Racing
  3. 205, Juan Cruz Yacopini, Overdrive Racing
  4. 201, Yazeed Al Rajhi, Overdrive Racing
  5. 221, Guillaume De Mevius, Overdrive Racing
  6. 301, Francisco Lopez Contardo, Can-Am Factory Team
  7. 209, Giniel De Villiers, Toyota Gazoo Racing
  8. 207, Mattias Ekstrom, Team Audi Sport
  9. 305, Austin Jones, Can-Am Factory Team.
  10. 302, Eryk Goczal, Energylandia Rally Team.


Day six is upon us, and it will be a long day for the drivers. The next stage's 758 kilometres of dunes will undoubtedly take its toll, and it should play havoc with the current standing.

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