Rallye

Dakar Stage 5: Toby Price takes stage win as Ricky Brabec maintains overall lead

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Toby Price was keen to make the best use of his start position and make up time on the rally front-runners. Pushing hard right from the off, the Australian had moved into the lead by kilometre 152. Photo: Rally Zone
Toby Price has won the fifth leg of the 2020 Dakar Rally to move into second on the overall leader board while Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short came home second and third.

Putting in a superb performance throughout the special, the duel winner now sits second overall in the provisional event standings while American Ricky Brabec maintains a nine minute lead byh virtue of a fourth place finish on todays stage.

Sam Sunderland is the second of the factory riders unfortunately forced to abandon the race following a crash at kilometre 187. The British rider was airlifted from the stage with injuries to his back and shoulder and taken for immediate medical checks. Thankfully, Sam is expected to make a full recovery.


Day five at the 2020 Dakar Rally presented a change in scenery for competitors as they travelled east from Al-‰Û÷Ula to Ha‰Ûªil. The 353-kilometre timed special began with fast, stony tracks similar to the previous day‰Ûªs stages, before opening out into expansive dunes during the latter half of the route.

Following his sixth-place finish on Wednesday, Toby Price was keen to make the best use of his start position and make up time on the rally front-runners. Pushing hard right from the off, the Australian had moved into the lead by kilometre 152. From there the reigning Dakar champion maintained a strong pace, making the minimum of mistakes, to come home over one-minute ahead of the second-placed rider.

‰ÛÏIt was a good day for me today ‰ÛÒ we‰Ûªve seen a big change in scenery with the last half of the stage in the dunes," Price explained. "I got my head down at the start and made some good progress even though it was a bit tricky out there today. I‰Ûªve made up some more time on the leaders, which is good and hopefully we‰Ûªll have another strong day in the sand tomorrow. I want to wish Sam all the best after his fall today too ‰ÛÒ hopefully he‰Ûªs back on the bike again soon.‰Û
Pablo Quintanilla completed the stage second-fastest, just over one-minute behind the Price, Quintanilla now lies fourth overall in the provisional overall standings. Photo: Rally Zone
Pablo Quintanilla, the 14th rider to set off, was fourth fastest to the first checkpoint. With times between the top 10 riders being extremely tight, reducing navigational errors and maintaining a fast pace over the varied terrain was key to a good result. Completing the stage as second-fastest, just over one-minute behind the Price, Quintanilla now lies fourth overall in the provisional overall standings.

‰ÛÏHonestly, the stage was tough, but I feel really good. I immediately found a strong rhythm and was able to make good progress," Quintanilla said. "It was dusty up to the refuelling because I had to pass some other riders, but apart from that it was okay. After that I was riding with Andrew and we did a really good team job and were able to really push. Yesterday didn‰Ûªt go so well for me but today I was able to take advantage of the position I had and make up some time. Riding 200 kilometres in the dunes was hard ‰ÛÒ you are on the pegs the whole way and there‰Ûªs no time to rest. It seems stage six will be similar so I will get some rest tonight and hopefully have another solid day tomorrow.‰Û
After a rough four days, Andrew Short found his feet on stage five coming home third fastest. Photo: Rally Zone
Following a tough start to his 2020 Dakar Rally campaign, Andrew Short enjoyed his best result of the event so far, coming home in third place. Navigating well through the faster first half of the stage, the experienced American then rode with teammate Quintanilla during the latter part, clocking in as third fastest. Now sitting just outside the top 10 in 12th overall.

‰ÛÏMy day started off really fast today and I rode really good up to the refuelling zone," Short said. "After that it turned into off-piste and dunes and while I was searching for one waypoint, Pablo caught me and from then on, we rode the rest of the stage together. It was nice to follow him and see his lines and rhythm, hopefully I can keep up the same pace myself and make up some time as the race goes on.‰Û
Ricky Brabec finishes in fourth place and was able to keep the day‰Ûªs winner Price within a three minute distance. Brabec holds top spot in the general rankings with a nine-and-a-half minute advantage. Photo: DPPI Media
After starting out among the first positions, the team riders set about minimising the time that their pursuers were intent on clawing back from them. leader Ricky Brabec staged a mission to maintain his place at the head of the overall leader board. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider, finishing in fourth place on the day, was thus able to keep the day‰Ûªs winner Price within a three minute distance. Brabec holds top spot in the general rankings with a nine-and-a-half minute advantage over the nearest second place rival.

"My day was good. It started out freezing cold which I don‰Ûªt really agree with," the Amercian said. "It was really fast. A lot of hp and sandy tracks. I rode with Nacho. We made it to the finish which is our number one goal. First in the general is amazing. We are sitting in a good spot for tomorrow to push. We will try and catch the main group and not lose too much time. Right now we are taking it day by day. It‰Ûªs too hard to have a strategy. There‰Ûªs a lot of racing left to do. We are going to go day by day and hope for good results each day."
Matthias Walkner finished fifth at the finish, seven minutes down on Price, Walkner will now enjoy an excellent start position and be able to attack Friday‰Ûªs long 477-kilometre special stage. Photo: Rally Zone
Matthias Walkner suffered a difficult stage four yesterday, where a small mistake resulted in several minutes lost. Keen to recover that time, the Austrian racer had to first battle through the dust raised by the riders ahead as he made his way through the field during today‰Ûªs special. Ultimately placing fifth at the finish, seven minutes down on Price, Walkner will now enjoy an excellent start position and be able to attack Friday‰Ûªs long 477-kilometre special stage.

‰ÛÏAll-in-all it has been a good day for me today," Walkner said. "I suffered a little with the dust at first due to starting 27th and had lost a bit of time by the refuelling. After that on the off-piste sections I think I was a little too careful in my navigation and not just pushing the tracks like it seems some of the other riders were. The good thing is I made it to the finish safely without losing too much time. It‰Ûªs never nice to see your teammate after they have had a crash, it took my focus for a little while, but it seems he is not too bad and that‰Ûªs always good to hear.‰Û
Joan Barreda posted sixth place on the stage leaves the Dakar Legend in seventh position overall, with the rider looking set to improve further over the coming days. Photo: Rally Zone
Monster Energy Honda Team rider Joan Barreda noted how much the sensations in the race have improved, with the Spaniard looking far more at ease than on previous days. Posting sixth place on the stage leaves the Dakar Legend in seventh position overall, with the rider looking set to improve further over the coming days.

"Today I felt a little better. The second part of the special was quite hard physically having a lot of sand and vegetation, but we were able to hold a solid pace. I trying to get the good feelings back day after day to move up positions," Barreda said.
Ross Branch carded another top ten result with 7th on stage. Photo: DPPI Media
Privateer Ross Branch carded another top ten result with 7th on stage ahead of Luciano Benavides. Benavides endured a late start position on stage five, setting off as the 20th rider to enter the special but was able to maintain a solid pace to ultimately finish as eighth fastest. Kevin Benavides celebrated his 31st birthday on the stage with the Argentinean finishing in a buoyant ninth position, some 12 minutes adrift of the winner, but is confident of being able to take advantage of the favourable starting position to strike hard tomorrow. Paulo Goncalves climbed up several positions for the second day in a row to finish 10th and is now 59th place in the overall rankings.

Yesterday‰Ûªs winner, Nacho Cornejo opened the track for large stretches of today‰Ûªs stage until he was reached, first by Ricky Brabec, then by other riders and eventually finished 11th. The Chilean is fifth in the overall standings, a position which he wishes to improve upon tomorrow on the longest stage of the opening half of the rally, before the riders get a well-earned rest.

Australian privateer Rod Faggotter finished 23rd on stage and maintains his top twenty position now sitting 16th overall.

"Dropped a couple minutes on finding a waypoint, but otherwise a solid and safe day," Faggotter said. "It was another full on day and up to this stage this is the fastest Dakar In overall speeds I‰Ûªve done. Fully charging for hours on end!"
Stage six of the rally marks the final day of racing before the rest day. Riders leave Ha‰Ûªil and head further east toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The second-longest stage of the event, competitors cover a total distance of 830 kilometres, which includes a gruelling 477-kilometre special made up primarily of sandy tracks and dunes.

For full results and standings - Click Here

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