DAKAR STAGE 5: THE RACE TIGHTENS
Stage five once again brought big changes to the Dakar Rally. It was the second day of a marathon stage, which meant the riders had no technical assistance overnight. It also was a mass start, rather than one-by-one according to the previous day’s results. American Ricky Brabec considered the mass start to his advantage. As the winner of stage four, he normally would have to break trail, which is always a recipe for disaster. In this case, all he had to do was follow closely and he could retain his overall lead in the standings. Husqvarna riders Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short got in front and rode together for most of the event.
The day turned ugly for Brabec’s Honda Teammate Paulo Gonclaves. He went down and suffered a wrist injury and a possible concussion, which ended his rally. Red Bull KTM rider Sam Sunderland came across the downed Goncalves and stayed with him until help arrived, then set out riding hard.
As the race entered its final stages, Quintanilla strategically laid back, giving the physical win to Yamaha rider Xavier DeSoultrait. Afterward, officials awarded the win to Sam Sunderland by giving him the time he had spent with Goncalves.
Andrew Short turned in an impressive fifth place on the day. It was also an excellent day for rookie American Skyler Howes, who was ninth. Ricky Brabec finished 11th, but still holds a small lead in the overall standings.
Andrew Short: “I had a better day today. It was really fun to ride with Pablo pretty much all day. The mass start was huge fun, especially for a guy like me coming from motocross. From the beach we went to the big dunes. It was really steep and we were going up and down all the time. That part was really fun to ride. Overall, it was a good day for me and Pablo and hopefully as we continue we can keep getting better. When I have someone like Pablo who I can trust, it’s a lot easier for me to ride fast. The more I ride with the top guys the better I can get. I am getting more experience and I hope I can keep improving during the second week of racing.”
Ricky Brabec: “oday was the second stage of the marathon. Yesterday went really well. I was really mad. I had to push really hard to make up for lost time so I had to really go for it. Today was more complicated because with a mass line start you can’t really make up time – you can lose it but you can’t make it back. Now we have a rest day so we relax a bit and prepare for the final stages.”
2019 Dakar Rally – Stage 5 Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 04:11:48
2. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 04:15:11
3. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 04:15:48
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha), 04:16:14
5. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 04:16:14
6. Luciano Benavides (KTM) 04:16:14
13. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 04:19:07
2019 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 5
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 16:51:34
2. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 16:52:33
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 16:54:26
4. Toby Price (KTM) 16:54:55
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 16:58:10
6. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 17:00:35
10. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 17:19:28