LIMA, Peru — Sebastien Loeb and former champion Sam Sunderland got here back into contention midway by means of the Dakar Rally by successful the fifth stage on Friday.
Loeb drove the race’s longest stage from Tacna back north to Arequipa masterfully, pulling away about 200 kilometers into the 517-kilometer course to win it by 10 minutes from total chief Nasser Al-Attiyah.
“We pushed actually exhausting from the beginning to the top of the stage, with no errors, no punctures, nothing. We had an ideal day,” mentioned Loeb, the nine-time world rally champion.
Al-Attiyah stretched his total lead to 24 minutes over chief rival Stephane Peterhansel, who had to cease briefly about 40 kilometers from the end.
Nani Roma was 34 minutes back in third, Jakub Przygonski was hanging in at 38 minutes down, and Loeb was 40 minutes behind.
The stage was finally reduce 100 kilometers quick as a result of fog made driving hazardous.
Loeb additionally won the second stage however throughout the third on Wednesday he made a navigation mistake in fog and misplaced half an hour. After the remaining day on Saturday, there’s nonetheless loads of racing in the Peruvian desert to make up the time.
Simply because the stage completed prematurely due to fog, the beginning was delayed by fog, and Sunderland was sluggish to get going. He saved in contact with the leaders till about midway by means of the 345-kilometer motorcycle stage when Paulo Goncalves crashed and reportedly suffered head and hand accidents.
Sunderland stopped to assist the Portuguese rider Goncalves, the runner-up in 2015.
In the meantime, the motorcycle lead swapped between Pablo Quintanilla and Xavier de Soultrait till Quintanilla bumped into hassle simply four kilometers from the end.
De Soultrait crossed first, adopted by defending champion Matthias Walkner, however Sunderland was given the stage win when he was credited for the 10 minutes he stopped to assist Goncalves.
“I did not have any reference of how a lot time I used to be dropping, so I used to be pondering that my race was going downhill,” Sunderland mentioned. “I pushed lots and at last it was OK.
“It has been actually robust, actually troublesome. If the primary 5 days are something to go by, then, certain, there shall be much more chaos to come.”
Ricky Brabec, a secure 11th on the marathon stage, remained the general chief however was solely a minute forward of Sunderland, whose solely accomplished Dakar of his earlier 5 was a title victory in 2017. That made him the primary British champion.
“I do not know if it is a dream or if it is actuality,” Brabec mentioned of being the chief. “It is fairly wild.”