Stage 5 was the longest Stage in Dakar 2019 as the drivers went furthest away from Lima where they had started the race five days back. Flagged off from Tacna, the competitors had to make their way to Arequipa through long zones of fesh-fesh, winding canyons, and dunes of Ilo. Completing the course span of 714 km (including the 519 timed kilometres) in 4:56:34 seconds, Sebastian Loeb bagged his 12th stage win in Dakar.
Adrift by just 10 minutes and 22 seconds was championship leader Nasser Al-Attiyah driving his Toyota across the finish line with a time of 5:06:56 seconds. The Qatari driver has extended his overall lead by 24 minutes and 42 seconds over Peterhansel who is currently second on the leaderboard.
Likewise, Al-Attiya is almost 40 minutes ahead of Loeb who is running fifth on the championship table. Peterhensal – after starting the Stage 5 side-by-side on the beach front with Attiyah – suffered a late setback behind the wheel of X-raid Mini and he finished fourth with a time of 5:22:43 seconds behind X-Raid’s Nani Roma (5:20:38 seconds).
Al-Attiyah arrived at the neutralised zone (where drivers run at a set speed) ahead of the 13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel who suffered a delay in the dunes. Loeb, on the other hand, finished the first section of the special faster than Al-Attiyah.
Dakar Legend Carlos Sainz's dreams of defending his championship were lost after a disheartening Stage 3 and now he seems to be competing only to help his fellow teammates. Sainz was even quicker than Loeb in the first checkpoint but dropped down the field after finding troubles in the first 200km. The 2018 Dakar Champion finished 11th behind Toyota’s Giniel De Villiers and Bernhard Ten Brinke.
The participants will now go into Arequipa for a much-needed respite before the rally resumes on Sunday with Stage 6. The stage will take a near-reciprocal route as the participants will head back to the Peruvian capital for the culmination of the 2019 Dakar Rally on 17 January.