Dakar 2020, Stage 5: Sainz, Despres take stage wins
Carlos Sainz became the first repeat winner of this year's Dakar Rally as he beat Nasser Al-Attiyah to extend his advantage overall to just under six minutes.
X-raid Mini Buggy driver Sainz came into the stage with a 3m03s lead over Toyota rival Al-Attiyah, and looked set to drop further time as he lost two-and-a-half-minutes in the opening 50km of Thursday's 353km Al Ula-Hail test due to a slow puncture.
But the two-time World Rally champion recovered to take a slender lead at the 250km and ended up pulling out 2m56s over Al-Attiyah over the remainder of the stage.
It means Sainz now has an enhanced advantage of 5m59s in the general classification as the legendary rally nears its halfway point.
Stephane Peterhansel lost some three minutes in his X-raid Buggy with a puncture, and ended up 6m11s adrift of his teammate at the end of the stage.
He now trails Sainz by 17m53s overall, but holds a comfortable third place ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota), who consolidated fourth by finishing in the same position on the stage.
Orlando Terranova holds fifth in the best of the X-raid Mini 4x4s, ahead of Matthieu Serradori's Century and Giniel de Villiers' factory Toyota. The South African is the last driver who is still within an hour of the lead.
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso notched up the second top-10 finish of his Dakar career as he came home seventh, 12m23s behind fellow countryman Sainz.
The Toyota driver still trails by more than three hours overall following his costly accident on Monday's second stage, however.
General classification (top 10):
|Pos.||#||Driver / Co-driver||Car||Time||Gap|
|3||302|| Stephane Peterhansel |
Giniel de Villiers
Bernhard ten Brinke
Sotnikov takes stage win in Trucks
Kamaz driver Dmitry Sotnikov recorded his first stage win of the 2020 Dakar in the trucks division, besting teammates Anton Shibalov and Andrey Karginov.
Sotnikov took honours by 3m06s over Shibalov, who had won two of the opening four stages, as Shibalov overcame Karginov by just nine seconds for the runner-up spot.
Karginov continues to lead overall by a slightly reduced margin of 14m53s over Shibalov, with Siarhei Viazovich (MAZ) lying third and 23m58s off the lead.
Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) suffered another nightmare stage as he came to a stop after 163km for repairs that look likely to cost the four-time event winner multiple hours.
Despres takes first victory in SxS
Five-time Dakar bikes champion Cyril Despres took a first stage win as part of the Red Bull Off-Road team at the wheel of the Overdrive-built OT3 buggy.
Despres failed to complete Wednesday's stage but was back in action under the new 'Dakar Experience' rule - a one-off 'joker' that allows competitors to rejoin the event but without being included in the overall classification - and beat Aron Domzala by just 41 seconds.
Former WRC driver Conrad Rautenbach made up the top three, 4m14s behind Despres.
In the overall standings, Sergey Karyakin has moved into a narrow 1m10s lead over Casey Currie, with former bikes rider Francisco Lopez only a further 37s back in third.
Jose Antonio Hinojo had led the rally overnight but lost 35 minutes and has consequently slipped outside the top 10 in the general classification.
#403 Red Bull Off-Road Team USA OT3: Cyril Despre, Mike Horn
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
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