Helder Rodrigues took the start of the 246km stage in 11th position due to the 14 hour penalty he got yesterday for not finishing the stage. The Portuguese struggled a bit at the beginning to get into the concentration again, but he recovered quickly finishing 2nd just 1’20 behind Barreda, who claimed the victory of the 5th stage and sits 2nd overall behind the leader Despres and ahead of Lopez, third.
A promising 3rd finish for the 23 year old Sam Sunderland, who didn’t make any mistakes on navigation and enjoyed the varied selective sector characterized by hard terrains, fech fech, dunes and a very fast final part of the stage.
A disappointing day for Brazilian Felipe Zanol, started third behind Despres and Barreda and determined to fight for the 3rd position overall. He made a navigation mistake after the refuelling, compromising his stage result (15th) and dropping to 7th position overall.
Argentinian Javier Pizzolito really enjoyed today’s stage, especially the navigation in the dunes with much cooler temperatures compared of the first 4 days. “Pizzo” finished 16th and sits in13th place overall.
The 11 times winner of Baja 1000 Johnny Campbell took advantage of his mechanical skills to fix his CRF 450 RALLY machine after he crashed in the dunes, breaking an ignition wire. He lost almost 45 minutes but finished 32nd without any physical inconvenience and sits in 19th position overall.
The Stage. Liaison: 97 kms – selective sector: 246 kms – Liaison: 84 kms
At first the trail is sinuous and sandy with the navigation becoming sharper up to the beginning of dunes. The riders cross the Erg from east to west with a varied terrain, plains between the two ergs and big crossings.
Then they take the Dakar route to lake Iriki and go fast up to the small dunes, finishing with a very fast track.
Helder Rodrigues, 2nd in SS5 +01’20, 42nd overall + 16h36’.38: “I started in the back and I was determined to win the stage, but at the beginning I struggled to maintain the concentration, after having spent 5 hours yesterday in the desert with the air temperature hitting 58°C. Then I went into my race pace again, finishing the stage second, 01’.20 behind Barreda.”
Sam Sunderland, 3rd in SS5 +4’23, 10th overall + 1h09’14: “Today’s stage was very varied with hard terrain at the start, then sandy dunes broken by trails and dunes again. The final part was very fast with many danger 2 warnings. After yesterday’s 30 minute penalty for missing a way point, today I stopped to make sure I was right, but it’s better to loose 3 minutes than 30. All in all, it was a positive stage. The bike felt a bit heavy in the dunes because we still had a full fuel tank”.
Felipe Zanol, 14th in SS5 +23’22, 7th overall +44’13: “I started third and I was following Despres, when, at km 127 after the refuelling, I turned left instead of right , getting lost for 6 kms. I had to return back to validate the way point at km 132 and I missed all the margin I had gained. I’m very disappointed. Today I started to fight for the third position overall but a mistake of navigation spoiled the good job done in the first 4 stages”.
Javier Pizzolito, 15th in SS5 +24’17, 13rd overall + 1h54’43: “It was a hard start as we had a lot of dust and fech fech for the first 40 kms. When we entered into the dunes, I passed some riders recovering position. I had a better visibility and I could maintain my rhythm without taking too many risks. I liked a lot the dunes today and I could enjoy them thanks to the cooler temperature. The landscape today’s reminded me of Argentina.
Johnny Campbell 32nd in SS5 +1h15’18, 19th overall +4h28’02: “The start of the stage was with lots of dust and fech fech with twisted tracks and I was not comfortable with these conditions. When we entered the Erg, I came over a dune and the front wheel went in a hole and I fell over. As I picked up the bike, I tried to restart but there was no spark, so I had to take off the seat and the fuel tank and I found a broken cable. I fixed the problem and rejoined the race. I lost a lot of time, arriving at the first CP with almost 45 minutes delay. Afterwards I had no special problem till the end of the stage”.
Katsumi Yamazaki, TEAM HRC LPL: “Yesterday we had a problem with Helder’s bike so we doubled checked all the other bikes and everything was fine. We will continue to analyse all the data in Japan and we will work hard to improve the whole package both in terms of performance and reliability to be ready for the Dakar”.
Unofficial results fifth stage:
2.Rodrigues (Honda – Team HRC) + 1’20
3.Sunderland (Honda – Team HRC) + 4’23
4 Goncalves (Husqvarna)
5.Lopez ( KTM) + 8’24”
14.Zanol (Honda) +23’22
15.Pizzolito (Honda – Team HRC) + 24’17
32.Campbell (Honda- Team HRC) à 1h15’18
Unofficial overall results after stage 5:
2.Barreda (Husqvarna) + 5’33
3.Lopez (KTM) + 31’58
4.Verhoven + 36’37
5.Goncalves (Husqvarna) + 42’59
7.Zanol (Honda – Team HRC) +44’13
10. Sunderland (Honda- Team HRC) + 1h09’14
13.Pizzolito (Honda – Team HRC) +1h54’43
19.Campbell (Honda – Team HRC) +4h28’02
Photos by AP PhotoSport