The Stage 5 of the 2018 Dakar Rally was the last full leg in Peru before the competitors cross the country to Bolivia. The fifth stage San Juan de Marcona - Arequipa was a 774km test with 266km of racing against the clock.
For the fifth stage, the organisers separated the route for bikes/quads and cars/trucks. So, the four-wheeled machines were the first to discover the gruelling terrain even before the riders.
The biggest happening in Stage 5 was the exit of Sherco TVS rider Aravind KP. The Indian rider crashed out of the stage when he suffered a fall and broke his ankle close to the finish. Aravind's dream of becoming the only second Indian to finish the Dakar Rally has shattered again due to this unfortunate incident. He was unable to finish the rally last year after suffering two crashes.
On the other hand, Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider CS Santosh maintained his steady pace as the rally neared its halfway mark and finished the fifth stage in 51st position. This performance also improved the overall ranking of the Indian rider as he is placed in 52nd position.
In the bikes category, the fifth stage was won by Honda rider Joan Barreda Bort. Adrien van Beveren leads the rally by a narrow margin ahead of Kevin Benavides. KTM rider Matthias Walkner is also close to the rally leader in the overall standings. Barreda Bort is charging ahead and is placed in the fourth position.
In the quads category, defending champion, Sergey Karyakin suffered a crash and broke his arm. This handed over a 40-minute rally lead to Chilean rider Ignacio Casale. Alexis Hernandez and Pablo Copetti rounded off the top three riders after the completion of the fifth stage.
In the cars category, the big news was the exit of nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb. Just 5km into the stage, Loeb found himself stuck in the sand and lost almost three hours. But with his co-driver Daniel Elena injured, Loeb decided to quit the rally.
The Stage 5 victory went to Stephane Peterhansel; the 13-time Dakar champion recorded his first stage win of 2018 Dakar. Peterhansel also leads the rally ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Carlos Sainz. Toyota driver Bernhard ten Brinke is placed in the third position in the overall standings.
In the trucks category, Russian driver Eduard Nikolaev was dominant in the fifth stage despite few problems. Local hero Federico Villagra maintained his pace and is the closest rival to Nikolaev in the overall rankings. Siarhei Viazovich is the best of the rest in the third spot in the general standings.
2018 Dakar Stage 5 Results
- Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Honda
- Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM
- Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda
- Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG) Yamaha
- Ignacio Casale (CHL) Yamaha
- Alexis Hernandez (PER) Yamaha
- Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) Peugeot
- Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD) Toyota
- Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) Toyota
- Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz
- Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz
- Airat Mardeev (RUS) Kamaz
The fifth stage of the Dakar Rally 2018 was a challenging one, and the whole Peru stages were too hard for the amateur riders and drivers. There were several retirements, and the latest one was Aravind KP. The sixth stage of the rally will take the competitors to Bolivia with a 313km special stage.