HA’IL, SAUDI ARABIA – Stage 5 of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw the four South African Toyota Gazoo Racing crews maintain their overall positions.: Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel were again fastest of the foursome, setting the second-fastest time on the stage but losing 2min56 to stage winner Carlos Sainz (Mini).
They remain in second place, however, and are now 5min59 behind Sainz in the overall standings. This, Toyota reports, came after a tough stage, in which Al-Attiyah/Baumel started second into the stage.
They inherited the lead, however, when Stage 4 winner Stephane Peterhansel pulled over to replace a punctured tyre – an ongoing peril of this rally. The result was that the Toyota Hilux crew effectively opened the road for most of the stage.
SIXTH FOR GINIEL
They also had to nurse a slow puncture over the closing 50km – accounting for some of the time they lost.
Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro finished Stage 5 sixth-fastest, losing 11min46 to the stage winners on the day. They remain seventh and are now 46min26 behind in the overall standings.
De Villiers said after reaching the bivouac at Ha’i: “The first part of the stage was quite fast but then we reached a rocky section where we slowed to avoid more punctures.
“I might have taken it too easy in that section but after all the punctures we’ve had to deal with we decided that caution was the better part of valour.”
He lost more time in the closing kilometres of the stage after tweaking his neck during a rough landing. The injury was not serious but the crew decided to slow down to minimise his pain.
Gazoo’s Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma had a good stage, seventh-fastest on the day. The Spanish pair had two punctures yet managed to bring their South African-built Toyota Hilux home only 34sec behind De Villiers.
Navigation played a key role for Gazoo’s Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul who posted highly competitive times over the first section of the stage then lost time searching for a waypoint.
In the end they lost 20min14 on the stage but held on to eighth in the overall standings, 1hr4min54 behind.
‘TOUGH FIRST WEEK’
Friday’s Stage 6 will be the last of the first week of the rally, taking the race from the central city of Ha’il to the Saudi capital of Riyadh – and a rest day.
Toyota Gazoo team principal Glyn Hall told the corner in a media release: ”It’s been a really tough opening week. Everybody has had to adapt to the new country and the terrain has been really rough.
”Whatever, there’s more than half of the race left and we’re certainly still in with a shout.”
2020 Dakar Rally Day 5 Gazoo places
2nd Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel,+2min56
6th Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro +11min46
7th Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma +12min23
12th Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul +20min 14
2020 Dakar Rally Overall places after Day 5
2nd Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel +5min59
7th Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro +46min26
8th Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 4min54
18th Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma +3hrs 11min50