Monday 6 January 2003
Liaison 133 km - Special 285 km - Liaison 76 km - Total 494 km
O9:26 - The beginning of long desert portions and the first real special of this edition 2003. The terrain becomes sandy and the first crossings appear with numerous changes of direction. The course is faster at first with a mix of sandy and rocky tracks. But as the kilometres go, come little dunes and strips of sand with fast and tricky sections. At the middle of the special, the track gets easier, faster with a few bumps and jumps. The course then heads between hills and navigation becomes harder with quite a few parallel tracks and very little details to find the good direction. The end of the special is faster.
11:57 - Steve Vandenberghe (Yamaha - n.184) appears to be having mechanical problems on his quad bike and has stopped after 116kms of the fifth stage between Tozeur and El Borma.
11:57 - After the first five competitors crossed the finish line of stage 5 special between Tozeur and El Borma in Tunisia, Richard Sainct (KTM- n.3) has the best time. The Frenchman clocked a time of 2h 41' 42", 17sec ahead of Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1) and 3min17s ahead of Nani Roma (KTM - n.4), third.
As it stands, Sainct leads the overall in front of Meoni by 2min25s. Third is Roma, 4min16s adrift.
12:51 - In the stage 5 special between Tozeur and El Borma in Tunisia, Richard Sainct (KTM- n.3) managed the best time. The Frenchman clocked a time of 2h 41' 42", 17sec ahead of Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1) and 3min17s ahead of Nani Roma (KTM - n.4), third. Cyril Despres (KTM -n.7) finished fourth over seven minutes off the pace.
In the overall, Sainct leads in front of Meoni by 2min25s. Third is Roma, 4min16s adrift. Alfie Cox (KTM - n.2) who finished fifth of the special losing over 7 minutes, moves down to fifth spot 8min39s behind.
13:54 - Frenchman Thierry Delavergne (Nissan - n.210) was forced to stop after 244kms. He appears to be having suspension problems.
13:56 - After the first five competitors crossed CP 3 of the stage 5 special between Tozeur and El Borma in Tunisia, Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi- n.200) has the best time. The Japanese driver leads in front of Peterhansel (Mitsubishi - n.206), Schlesser (Schlesser Ford - n.208) and De Mevius (BMW - n.205).
In the virtual overall, Peterhansel's lead on Masuoka has gone down to 1 second.
13:58 - Frenchman Luc Alphand (BMW - n.221) is stopped in the special after the third CP with front suspension worries.
14:23 - Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi - n.200) claimed the special in today's stage 5 between Tozeur and El Borma. On the 285km special, the 2002 rally winner clocked a time of 2min31s beating his team mate Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi - n.206) by 2min20s. Third place went to Kenjiro Shinozuka (Nissan- n.201), over 8 minutes behind.
In the car overall, Masuoka takes the leadership with a 55sec lead on Peterhansel. Shinozuka, the first Nissan driver is third, 10min49s adrift.
Truck: 14:54 - At the third check point of the special between Tozeur and El Borma, Karel Loprais (Tatra - n.408) has the best time so far. The Czech truck driver leads ahead of Tchaguine (Kamaz - n.407), Kabirov (Kamaz - n.412), De Azevedo (Tatra- n.410) and De Rooy (DAf - n.409).
16:32 - Czech Republic's Karel Lopris (Tatra - n.408) claimed the first African special of the Telefonica Dakar rally in the stage between Tozeur and El Borma. On the 285km special, the Tatra truck driver clocked a time of 3h27min40s. On very hard and rocky surfaces, Loprais beat Tchaguine (Kamaz - n.407) by 53secs and Kabirov (Kamaz - n.412) by 6min20s. Brazil's De Azevedo (Tatra - n.410) finished fourth of the special.
In the truck overall, Tchaguine takes the leadership with a 1min21sec advantage on Loprais. De Rooy (DAF - n.409), fifth of the special is now third, 5min 53s adrift.
18:34 - 157 bike competitors and 109 cars have crossed the final CP of stage 5 between Tozeur and El Borma in Tunisia. The number of trucks is not yet none. Competitors like Alphand (BMW - n.221) and Delavergne (Nissan - n.210) are however still not back at the bivouac due to falls and mechanical incidents.
20:08 - Frenchmen Luc Alphand (BMW - n.221) and Thierry Delavergne have finally made it to the bivouac after suffering the same suspension problem after a crash on a rock at the exact same place. Alphand's time is of 9h 07min 09 and Delavergne clocked 8h 21min 36.
20:17 - Germany's Andrea Mayer (Mitsubishi - n.236) who is doing her first Dakar in a car broke her turbo 3kms from the end of the stage going from Tozeur to El Borma while driving at the slow pace of 80km/h. She admitted she would wait until tomorrow to see if she can start the stage or not.