The film of the stage A first for Street and Al-Attiyah Once again, the race in Stage 5 was a matter of tyres. Coma and Despres both had to stop to change tubes. American rider Jonah Street did not have the same problem and ends up with his...
The film of the stage
A first for Street and Al-Attiyah
Once again, the race in Stage 5 was a matter of tyres. Coma and Despres both had to stop to change tubes. American rider Jonah Street did not have the same problem and ends up with his very first stage victory on a Dakar special stage. The duel between Al-Attiyah and Sainz turned to the benefit of the Qatari who is the new leader in the car general standings.
The tide seems to have turned slightly in the bike race of this 2009 Dakar. Spared by tyre problems, Marc Coma, the winner of the 2006 edition of the rally raid, ran flat at km 45 which forced him to stop for a good 20 min. This is when the pursuit started and that was great news for Cyril Despres... until right after the first CP (km 230) where the Frenchman had caught back 15' from his Spanish rival. But the curse of the tyre tubes was going to hit again on the title holder. Forced - in turn - to organize an emergency pit stop, Despres lost his head start. Worse! He even lost an additional 7 min over Coma at the following CP (km 422).
After starting third in the early hours of the morning, Jonah Street once again demonstrated flawlesness and steadiness. Four times in the top ten since the start of this year's edition of the Dakar, the American rider managed to both preserve his tyres and keep up the pace with the best in the race. Being the best to handle the first sand dunes in the finish, Street ended up with a 5'53" lead over Frans Verhoeven and a 7'34" lead over Francisco Lopez. In the duel between Despres and Coma, it is the first one who managed to steel back a tiny little minute to the Catalan rider.
In the general standings, Marc Coma, who ends the stage in 7th position, is loosing ground from the 42' lead he had yesterday over a surprising Street, he only has 27' left. David Fretigne, third of today's stage, gets closer to the leader and is now at 39'09" of the leader.
The car category put on a great show on this very versatile special stage where all driving skills had the opportunity of being expressed by the drivers. Dieter Depping was the first to make his name known. He had a 23" lead at CP1 where he was ahead of Stephane Peterhansel who was making a come-back and - using one his proven techniques - was returning center stage of the race after just a few days in the rally raid.
The Depping-Peterhansel duo was making a first gap of 1'50" and 2'07" on the cars of Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mark Miller and Carlos Sainz. Then came a change in the configuration of the race between both check points as the Madrid and Qatari leaders in the general standings picked up their personal fight where they had left it leaving their adversaries far behind. The gap developed really quickly between them and Miller, De Villiers and the three Mitsubishis together. But the situation changed yet again and it is German driver Dieter Depping who ended up surprising everyone by being first to cross CP2 with a 24" lead over the title holder, whilst Al-Attiyah was timed with a 2'33" lead on Sainz.
The last events of the day were offered by the first sand dunes on this edition of the Dakar. 20 kilometers of sand where the leaders in the car category both broke their machines. De Villiers came out first of this boxing match and won the stage in front of Depping and Gordon, while Al-Attiyah was taking the lead in the general standings in front of De Villiers and relegated Carlos Sainz in third position, 6'33" behind.
The Pampa Battle is still raging in the truck category. This time, it is Firdaus Kabirov who won the stage achieving here his 26th stage victory in the Dakar and - hence - stealing the second place in the general standings to the Czar, Vladimir Chagin. Gerard de Rooy is still resisting the endless assaults of the Kamaz trucks. De Rooy's third place at the finish in San Rafael, 12'28" from the winner, allows the driver to remain the general standings leader but his lead on the new number two is only of 13".