Peru: Sunderland wins Dakar Rally's fifth stage, climbs into second place overall

Photo: EFE

Photo: EFE

16:47 | Arequipa (Arequipa region), Jan. 11.

British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland (KTM) on Friday was declared the winner of the Dakar Rally's fifth stage in the bikes category after officials subtracted the more than 10 minutes he spent assisting a fellow competitor.

With his dominating performance, Sunderland moved up to second in the overall standings and is currently less than a minute behind U.S. Ricky Brabec (Honda).

France's Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) crossed the finish line first in a time of four hours, 15 minutes and 11 seconds, just 0:09 ahead of defending champion Matthias Walkner (KTM) and 0:37 seconds ahead of Spaniard Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco).

But after officials reviewed Friday's race from Moquegua to Arequipa and the assistance Sunderland provided to a rider —Paulo Goncalves (Honda)— who sustained a head injury and possible broken hand in a severe fall, they determined that Sunderland covered the route in 4:11:48, or 3:23 faster than De Soultrait.

Goncalves' accident and withdrawal from the rally represents a new setback for Honda, whose top rider, Spain's Joan Barreda, was forced to pull out of the race in the third stage when he got stuck in a basin.

Brabec, meanwhile, now has just a 0:59 lead in the general classification over Sunderland and is just 6:17 ahead of the fifth-placed Walkner after finishing Friday's stage in 11th place.

Action on Friday was delayed for nearly two hours due to thick fog on parts of the route that made it impossible for the helicopters —supervising the competition and filming footage for television— to fly.

Following the end of Stage 5, the competitors in the different categories are once again allowed to have their vehicles repaired by assistance crews in the bivouac (service area).

Such assistance had not been allowed between Stage 4 and Stage 5 (a so-called marathon stage).

The contestants in the 2019 Dakar Rally, which is being held exclusively in Peru this year, will have a rest day in Arequipa on Saturday.

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Published: 1/11/2019