Dakar 2021 Daily Round Up: Stage Five – De Villiers takes surprise stage win

4 Mins read
Photo credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Date: Thursday 7th January 2021

Location: Riyadh > Al Qaisumah

Length: 205km liaison + 456km special

So far on the Dakar Rally, the road from Riyadh to Al Qaisumah appeared to be the most testing so far for the crews and riders as no discipline was safe from navigational struggles. Even the most experienced were caught out including Carlos Sainz, Ricky Brabec and Martin Macik


Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Giniel De Villiers took the class win through Thursday’s stage, after leading the times from start to finish. De Villiers managed to catch up to Carlos Sainz, who started 30 minutes ahead, and overtook the Spaniard to gain clear air through the dunes. The South African capitalised on mistakes made by competition leaders, teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel, recording his seventeenth career Dakar stage win in the process. 

In the day’s running order, Al-Attiyah managed to catch up to the bikers, however the Qatari lost nine minutes due to getting lost. The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver finished the stage in fourth place pushing him back by six minutes overall to leader Peterhansel. Peterhansel finished the stage in third place behind Century Racing’s Brian Baragwanath, who put in a storming performance to bring him to ninth overall after finishing stage five 58 seconds adrift of De Villiers. 

2009 Junior World Rally (JWRC) Champion Martin Prokop had a strong drive during today’s 283 mile test to cross the line with the fifth fastest time, moving the Czech up up the order in the Benzina ORLEN Team Ford to fifth overall. 

Sainz wasn’t immune to navigational troubles, with the new electronic system being at the forefront of issues that plagued the X Raid Mini JCW Team driver’s stage, Voicing his concerns on social media when the stage concluded, the two-time World Rally Champion claimed the stage was ‘more like a gymkhana’ than a rally raid. The Spaniard finished the stage in a lowly ninth place, managing to cling onto third place in the overall standings. 

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena continued their run of bad luck, as the Bahrain Raid Xtreme pair were handed a penalty for speeding in a limited section on yesterday’s stage. Coming into today’s stage, they had slipped down the order to seventh overall. Loeb and Elena lost a further 50 minutes due to navigational struggles placing them 20th on the stage, pushing them back to tenth overall. 

Elsewhere on the stage Henk Lategan withdrew from the competition after a nasty crash 20 kilometres into the stage which resulted in the Toyota Gazoo Racing pilot suffering from a fractured collarbone. 



  1. Giniel De Villiers / Alex Haro Bravo – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 05:09:25s
  2. Brian Baragwanath / Taye Perry – Century Racing – 05:10:23s
  3. Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 02:36:10s

Overall classification after Stage 5:

  1. Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 18:27:02s
  2. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 18:34:13s
  3. Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 19:16:15s


Going into today’s stage there was under ten minutes separating the top ten riders. Many of the bikers got lost on stage and separated off into groups to aid navigation to the finish line in Al Qaisumah. 

Francisco Lopez | Photo credit: Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Argentina’s Kevin Benavides won the stage by a straight minute to fellow Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 rider Jose Cornejo. Benavides suffered a fall early on which left him with a broken nose and injured ankle, but the win softened that blow. Cornejo acted as Benavides’ navigational guide through the tricky sections which left many unstuck. 

Rookie Daniel Sanders got lost early on in the stage, with Joan Barreda losing 20 minutes early on with the disadvantage of opening the stage, and Ricky Brabec was 25 minutes off the pace after having similar navigational issues. 

South Racing Can-Am’s Francisco Lopez topped the timing sheets in the Lightweight category, by two minutes to team-mate Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Seth Quintero in third. 

Lopez’s nearest rival, Aron Domzala, placed fifth on the stage, six minutes behind putting the Pole just shy of ten minutes behind the Chilean in the overall rankings. 

Kris Meeke, having placed second yesterday in the lightweights, struggled to match the pace, setting the 57th fastest time through stage five. 

It was heartbreak for Siarhei Viazovich, who had enjoyed a close battle at the top of the Truck category with Dmitry Sotnikov. After yesterday’s mechanical issues suffered by his Maz, the issues persisted meaning the Belarusian retired from this year’s Dakar. 

Martin Macik made a good start, leading the way for over 200km. While trying to catch Sotnikov who wasn’t too far up ahead, the Czech got lost and lost ground. However, the Big Shock Racing driver and his crew finished the stage in third place, moving them to ninth in the overall standings going into day six. 

Sotnikov was able to extend his lead in the overall rankings by 34 minutes to fellow Kamaz Master driver Anton Shibalov, who sits in second place after finishing in third on today’s stage.




  1. Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 05:09:50s
  2. Jose Cornejo – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 05:10:50s
  3. Toby Price – Red Bull KTM Factory Team  – 05:11:10s

Overall after stage 5: 

  1. Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 20:15:39s
  2. Xavier De Soultrait – HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing – 20:18:10s
  3. Jose Cornejo – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 20:19:21s



  1. Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 05:47:32s
  2. Khalifa Al-Attiyah / Paolo Ceci – South Racing Can-Am – 05:49:24s
  3. Seth Quintero / Dennis Zenz – Red Bull Off-Road Team USA – 05:49:43s

Overall after stage 5: 

  1. Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 22:26:29s
  2. Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton – Monster Energy Can-Am – 22:36:20s
  3. Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 22:37:57s



  1. Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 05:30:20s
  2. Aliaksei Vishneuski / Maksim Novikau / Siarhei Sachuk – Maz-Sportauto – 05:31:21s
  3. Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 05:37:16s

Overall after stage 5: 

  1. Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 20:16:18s
  2. Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master –  20:50:11s
  3. Martin Macik / Frantisek Tomasek / David Svanda – Big Shock Racing – 21:07:29s
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