Fifth tough stage of the 2021 Dakar rally, from Riyadh to Al Qaisumah. In the lead Kevin Benavides, good Gerini, Piolini retires.
Today the riders had a very hard stage ahead of them, first due to the fatigue accumulated in the very long one yesterday, second for the difficulties of today's mixed terrain, which has marked many retirements.
Between the top 10 the close clashes continue to the sound of seconds: the gap between the first, Kevin Benavidez and the tenth, Joan Barreda, is only 14 minutes, which means that a lot can still happen in the trench of the first line.
The comment of pilots and experts
Joan Barreda: “Today was a really difficult stage, really tough. One of the most physically demanding. In the last section there were a lot of dunes and also at the beginning with very complicated navigation. We had some problems, but other riders came and we rode in a group. Conejo was in front for a long time and today he pushed really hard, sailing very well ”.
Nacho cornejo: “It was a difficult stage. It has been a long time since I took such a hard stage like this. There was everything: rocks, paths, dunes, fast parts, difficult navigation… I think I did a good job with navigation, difficult at the beginning, many were wrong. Then I started pushing a lot after about 80 or 90 kilometers until almost the end. We are improving in the overall standings, so that's okay. Tomorrow is another day, so now it's time to rest and focus for tomorrow “.
Oscar Polli: “Sand, dunes, stones, wadii, mountains… in short, one Dakar Rally that does not make us miss anything even in an approach stage. Xavier De Soultrait is proving to be up to being able to win this competition, but the road is still long: tomorrow a selective stage before the rest day, with lots of sand, dunes and complex navigation. We keep an eye on Barreda and Price as well as Bas Team rider Skyler Howes.
In each of his last four Dakar appearances, Kevin Benavidez has always won at least one special, with the exception of the 2020 edition, and today the Argentine has continued this tradition, despite a fall and a nose injury. He finished with more than seven minutes ahead of Xavier De Soultrait, also taking the lead in the overall standings ahead of the French. Behind them two follow Nacho Cornejo, Toby Price e Sam sunderland. Barreda records a further delay and falls back in the general classification.
Maurizio gerini, after yesterday's repairs, he concludes the stage in 28th place and 30th in the general classification. Cesare Zacchetti he doesn't give up the throttle and closes in 44th place, 50th overall. Excellent proof of Franco Picco who, from the height of his 65 years and encyclopedias of experience, closes today's race in 58th place and 54th in the general classification. They are followed by Stigliano in 62nd place in the stage and 71st in general. Unfortunately today Lorenzo Piolini he fell while overtaking a pilot in a wuadi in the middle of the dust: he suffered some fractures and was forced to retire.