Stage 5 - Wednesday 10 January 2007 - Ouarzazate to Tan tan Connection 164 km - Special 325 km - Connection 279 km Total 768 km The Film of the Stage Chagin will have to wait Before arriving in Mauritania, the Dakar's competitors had to get...
Stage 5 - Wednesday 10 January 2007 - Ouarzazate to Tan tan
Connection 164 km - Special 325 km - Connection 279 km
Total 768 km
The Film of the Stage
Chagin will have to wait
Before arriving in Mauritania, the Dakar's competitors had to get Morocco out of the way today, on winding and fast tracks. Isidre Esteve, in second place behind Coma in the general rankings, picked up his first victory of the year between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan, enabling him to make up some time on the rally leader. In the car category, Carlos Sainz confirmed his good position in a manner which suits him, with a 6th stage victory on the Dakar. Vladimir Chagin had come looking for a sixth overall victory on the Dakar to equal the record held by Karel Loprais. He limped out of the rally today, having tipped his truck over on the rally tracks. Hans Stacey is now the new man in charge of the general standings.
Victorious in the first two African specials, Marc Coma set his course for the Atlantic coast in conditions that any challenger for final victory would envy. With a lead of more than twelve minutes over Esteve, the title-holder did not deem it necessary to leave his countryman in his wake. After around one hundred kilometres of racing, the two leaders of the pack, the only riders not to make mistakes since the start in Lisbon, together followed the road-book to the end of the stage. On the finishing line Esteve, who started out second this morning, was logically the quickest, scoring his seventh victory on the Dakar and first of the year with a lead of 1'54'' over Coma. Cyril Despres, triumphant in this same stage during last year's edition, had to settle for third place. Unable to catch up with the Spanish pair, the Frenchman again lost time on his rivals: 5'02 on Esteve and 3'57 on Coma.
In the KTM-Gauloises team, whilst it was a fine day for Spaniard Esteve, it was no way near as good for David Casteu, another potential final victor. The Frenchman crossed the finishing line more than a quarter of an hour behind. Esteve is increasingly confirming his status as team leader for the 'blues'. In the general rankings, the first two are separated by only 10', whilst Casteu and Despres are respectively 37' and 47' behind leader Coma.
In the car category, Carlos Sainz, who yesterday admitted that he was still learning, picked up a 6th special stage victory and his 3rd on African soil. Having set off in third position this morning, the Spanish driver took advantage of the fast winding tracks which most probably suited him better than the forthcoming Mauritanian dunes. Once he had overtaken Jean-Louis Schlesser and Carlos Sousa on the way to CP2 (after 163 km), the former world rally champion withstood the attacks of his rivals to cross the finishing line with a small thirty second lead over Stephane Peterhansel. Giniel De Villiers, in third place with his Race Touareg, finished 1'41 behind his team-mate.
However, the situation had been looking good for Guerlain Chicherit midway through the stage. But the best of the BMW X-Raid team members lost his advantage on the last part of the stage, finishing the special with the 5th best time, 5' behind the winner. Sainz, who now has a lead of 3'36'' over De Villiers and 11'17'' over Sousa in the general rankings, must now deliver the guarantees of a successful career change in the dunes as from tomorrow to maintain his lead. Nani Roma, in fourth place 16'16'' behind, is the best placed Mitsubishi driver to challenge the faultless performance of the Volkswagens, but Peterhansel, Alphand and Masuoka, although 25' behind, have enough experience on the rally to hope for a comeback on the sand.
Head and shoulders above the rest during the first two Moroccan stages with an advantage of 24' in the general rankings at the start of the truck race this morning, Vladimir Chagin lost all hope of a sixth title this year. After a fuel problem, the Russian had lost more than 20' by CP2. Nothing to worry about at this stage of the race. Probably in too much of a hurry to make up for the lost time, Chagin made a schoolboy error around thirty kilometres from the finishing line. His Kamaz ended up on its side, his partners were injured, but not seriously, though it was impossible to avoid abandoning. With the fearsome Chagin now out of the way, the situation is a godsend for Hans Stacey, who yesterday was wondering just what weapons he could use in order to fight on a level playing field. Patience is one. Today, he won his 7th special stage victory. The Dutchman is now faced with a duel against a new rival: his countryman Gerard de Rooy, who is 34'35'' behind.