De Villiers Tops Stage, Peterhansel Still Leads Dakar

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Giniel de Villiers was the winner of the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally on Thursday. (Red Bull Photo)
Giniel de Villiers was the winner of the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally on Thursday. (Red Bull Photo)

AL QAISUMAH, Saudi Arabia – Giniel de Villiers earned his first stage victory of the Dakar Rally on Thursday while Stephane Peterhansel padded his lead atop the overall standings.

De Villiers bested Brian Baragwanath by 58 seconds to claim the victory in the 456-kilometer stage five, with overall leader Peterhansel finishing the stage in the third position, more than two minutes behind de Villiers.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, Peterhansel’s closest pursuer in the overall rankings, finished fourth behind Peterhansel and lost more than two minutes to the overall leader on Thursday. Peterhansel’s overall lead now sits at a little more than six minutes.

Al-Attiyah is the only competitor within 10 minutes of Peterhansel, with third-place Carlos Sainz Sr. more than 45 minutes off the pace in third.

In the motorcycle category, a timely stage victory for Kevin Benavides also catapulted him into the class lead. He outran Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo to win Thursday’s stage by one minute, pushing him into the class lead by more than two minutes over Xavier De Soultrait.

Nicolas Cavigliasso further added to his lead in the quad class with another stage victory, moving him to more than 20 minutes ahead of his closest pursuer. The same could be said for Dmitry Sotnikov in the truck category, who won Thursday’s stage and now sits more than 30 minutes ahead of Anton Shibalov. Lightweight category leader Francisco Lopez Contardo also won Thursday’s stage, moving him to a nearly 10 minute lead in class.