The fifth stage of Dakar has come to a close.
The attrition of Dakar continues to take big names out of contention, but some the top runners are starting to find their groove and form a cushion between them and their rivals.
The Carlos Sainz Peugeot is done as Cyril Despres was stopped for an extended period of time in the sister truck. The No. 302 Peugeot is now the highest in the general standings, but that's only 11th, over an hour back of the leading Mini.
Giniel De Villers lost more time to Nasser Al-Attiyah, but neither of them even cracked the top three in this stage. The Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk Toyota cut a few minutes out of the Mini's lead by placing second in the stage, losing out to SS5 winner Vladimir Vasilyev. Despite issues that have cost him hours in this rally, Robby Gordon continues to fight, finishing third today.
Jordi Viladoms and Ruben Faria kicked off SS5 in fourth and fifth in the general standings, but lost a few minutes when they took the wrong track before realizing their mistake. Marc Coma continues to hunt Honda's Joan Barreda, but the impressive Pablo Quintanilla was able to challenge them both.
In the end though, the man himself, Marc Coma rose to the top. With his maiden stage win of 2015, he edges closer to Barreda, who is now feeling the pressure.
It was a fairly tame day for the guys on quads, but Mohammed Abu-Issa did suffer an engine failure. He entered the day fourth overall and will likely be done. Rafal Sonik continues to obliterate the competition, over ten minutes ahead of his closest pursuer in this stage.
It was a clash of the titans today in trucks with two Kamaz Masters going head-to-head with Andrey Karginov and Eduard Nikolaev battling for supremacy. In the end, Nikolaev put the No. 502 out in front of the pack, extending his lead in the rally.