Stage 5: Peterhansel sets cars pace, Benavides takes lead in bikes

Sports Desk, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- France’s Stephane Peterhansel, “Monsieur Dakar” as he is known for his 13 victories in the so-called world’s toughest rally, kept the lead in the cars category after the fifth stage, in which reigning champion Spanish Carlos Sainz, again fell behind after getting lost.

The big news of the day came in the motorcycle category: the Argentinean Kevin Benavides, sporting a broken nose after coming off his bike, got to the finish line in first to take the lead in the general standings.

The fifth stage, with 457 km of special between Riyadh and Al Qaisumah, was one of the most complicated of this 43rd edition of the Dakar, both because of the usual navigation problems, as well as the stones and dunes along the bumpy route.

Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) beat the South African head to head against Brian Baragwanath (Century) in the cars to win the fifth stage.

The South African pair of drivers, separated by only 58 seconds at the finish, finished ahead of Peterhansel (Mini), who extended his lead in the general standings, to 6 minutes and 11 seconds over Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), who was fourth on Thursday.

Once he solved his navigation problems, Carlos Sainz reacted to finish in eighth and keep his third position in the general standings, 48:13 behind his teammate Peterhansel.

Baragwanath, second in the prologue of the Dakar on day 2, cut the advantage his compatriot De Villiers had taken on this fifth stage but could not complete the comeback.

At the wheel of his Toyota, De Villiers passed the first checkpoint and never gave up the lead.

One of the most injured was South African rookie Henk Lategan, who at the beginning of the stage fractured his collarbone and had to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Riyadh, while his co-pilot, Brett Cummings, was unharmed.

It was up to Qatar’s Al Attiyah to open the race after his third stage victory on Wednesday.

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