Sadly, along with Robby, Bryce and Ramirez we couldn’t attend the 2017 edition of the rally Dakar, however we are still following all the action closely on the Race-Dezert community in our forum. Today is the 5th stage of the rally and the drama is in full swing, lots of crazy stories, tons of photos and videos are being shared via social media, Nasser Al-Attiyah with Toyota, and the Peugeot army are the favorites to win this Dakar however this is Dakar and anything can happen…
ASUNCIÓN > RESISTENCIA – 454 KM (282.103 miles)
Al-Attiyah on fire!
Nasser Al-Attiyah did not wait long to demonstrate that he made the right choice on swapping Mini for the Toyota which he already is mastering. The Qatari struck from the start to win his 26th stage on the Dakar, but ended up doing overtime on the link stage, along which he had to be towed following a fire on his pick-up. Xavier de Soultrait was the quickest biker but could lose the benefit of this first stage victory to Juan Pedrero due to a penalty he is likely to receive for speeding.
So it begins the longest rally on the planet, Peugeot is again the favorite team to take it all but Toyota with Nasser Al-Attiyah is certainly a threat for the overall win without counting people like Nani Roma, Mikko Hirvonen or Giniel De Villiers just to mention a few more. In this first stage the terrain was the biggest challenge factor considering this is the first time that the rally goes to Paraguay, trees and heavy mud everywhere. Nasser took the 1st place but it crosses the finish line with fire in the engine, fortunately it was just a broken oil line spilling some on the exhaust, on the other part the 2WD Peugeot’s seems to struggle on the mud finishing in Top 10 having Carlos Sainz the best positioned with 4th place.
RESISTENCIA > SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMÁN – 803 KM (500 miles)
Loeb leads the way!
Toby Price took advantage of the 275-km long special to let his speed do the talking and pick up a very convincing win in San Miguel de Tucuman. With a lead of more than three minutes over his nearest pursuers, the winner in 2016 has a solid advantage in the general standings. Sébastien Loeb left his mark on the car category by dominating the second stage from start to finish. The Frenchman kept his most fierce rival Nasser Al-Attiyah at bay and picked up his first stage victory of the year as well as the lead in the general standings.
Seb Loeb, arguably the best driver of all time has delivered winning the 2nd stage. This time the stage was more familiar hitting same sections than last year, it was more about speed than navigation and when it’s about speed, no one better than Loeb also the temperature was a challenge hitting over +120*F. Nasser was the second fastest just 1 minute and 23 seconds slower than Loeb. 59 stage wins for Peugeot after this day making the same amount of wins of Volkswagen.
SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMÁN > SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY – 780 KM (485 miles)
Peterhansel is back!
Joan Barreda delivered a high-level performance on the tricky route leading to San Salvador de Jujuy and won his first special stage of the year with a huge lead over his rivals, perhaps a decisive step towards his first triumph on the Dakar. As for Stéphane Peterhansel, he is aiming for a 13th win overall and picked up his first victory of the year in taking advantage of the problems suffered by the rally’s first leader Nasser Al-Attiyah.
After dealing with high speeds and high temperatures now the Dakar has to face one of the biggest challenges, the altitude. This stage had peaks of 16’200 feet high, for the non-experienced at this altitude it’s even hard to breath. Nasser who had an incredible battle with Loeb during the stage had a crash ripping off one of the rear wheels leaving him without any chance of victory, “Game over…” he said at the finish line, however the current champion, Peterhansel came with the win with Carlos Sainz second and Loeb third.
SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY > TUPIZA – 521 KM (323 miles)
It’s Despress turn!
The fourth stage has been fatal to the ambitions of the title holder Toby Price, who suffered a high speed fall. His team-mate Matthias Walkner deputised ably by grabbing victory from the hands of Joan Barreda, the race leader. In the car race, Cyril Despres won the stage and now leads the general standings.
This stage has been the craziest so far, Toby Price (last year bike champion) suffered an accident breaking his leg ending his participation at the rally. Nasser didn’t start this stage and another spectacular crash was Carlos Sainz who forced to retire from the rally due to damages to his car. Now without Nasser and Carlos Sainz the Mini’s are getting closer with Mikko Hirvonen finishing 2nd.
Today’s the 5th Stage running from Tupiza to Oruro, Bolivia, it seems Loeb is taking the lead again, we invite you again to join our digital chasing at our forum.
Photo credit ASO | DPPI