After losing a significant amount of time during Thursday’s fourth stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb hit back in the only way he knows by dominating Friday’s fifth stage and move into second place in the overall standings.
Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena endured engine troubles on Thursday and lost more than 20 minutes to his rivals, but was ahead at all stages on Friday, ultimately winning the stage by 44 seconds from Toyota racer Nani Roma, which was enough to see him move ahead of Peugeot team-mate Cyril Despres into second place, behind only rally leader and team-mate Stephane Peterhansel by 1 minute and 9 seconds.
Loeb admitted it was a tough stage on Friday, and despite winning it was still one of those that found navigation a problem, otherwise he felt his advantage at the end of the stage could have been significantly more.
“Today’s stage was really difficult, with some tough navigation,” said Loeb. “We started well but, like the others, we ended up getting lost in the final third and we lost much of the lead we had succeeded in building up.
“We were still fastest, though, so that’s good, and our car ran like clockwork all day.”