The Dakar 2023 continues and the twists and turns continue: in yesterday’s stage, won by Joan Barreda (with a broken toe!), the very fast Mason Klein was slowed down in the finale by technical problems on his KTM, which cost him more than 10′ at the finish line. First, therefore, Barreda, followed by Pablo Quintanilla, at 16”, and Skyler Howes, at 1’05”. Daniel Sanders remains in command of the general standings, with a lead of 5’33” over Howes and 6’05” over Benavides. Thus we come to stage 5, another ring around Ha’il: 645 km of which 373 of special stage characterized by sand, sand and… more sand! Vast expanses of dunes await the riders today. The ability to deal with them will make the difference between gaining or losing minutes.
So open up the track Joan Barreda. But immediately the difficulties begin for him. At the first time check (after 37 km), Barreda loses 2′ from the provisional leader Nacho Cornejo. However, the Spaniard still accumulated almost a minute of bonus. In fact, we remind you that i bonuses of the day reward the first three riders who lead the way to the first refueling point (at 209 km today): 1.5” per km for the first; 1” per km for the second; and 0.5” per km for the third. Fly Ross Branch, who was 41st at the start, but is in 10th provisional place after 37 km. After 140 km Toby Price sets the best time, followed by Pablo Quintanilla (who, however, thanks to his bonuses is virtually the leader of the special) and Skyler Howes. But as you know, the upheaval is around the corner in the Dakar, and in fact… 20 km from the refueling point, the four forerunners lose their way and have to turn around to find the correct path. Adrien Van Beveren, who is behind them, avoids the trap and takes advantage of their about-face to follow the right path. Consequently, Van Beveren is the new forerunnerand this allows him to earn 41” bonus seconds. Joan Barreda, Pablo Quintanilla, Skyler Howes and Toby Price lose between ten minutes and fifteen minutes. Mason Klein now has the fastest refueling time, ahead of Cornejo and Van Beveren, who thanks to bonuses, is virtually in 2nd place.
Troubles continue for Ross Branch who, just like yesterday, was stopped at km 200 due to technical problems with his Hero. Now there are 5 riders who open the special together: Joan Barreda, Pablo Quintanilla, Adrien Van Beveren, Toby Price and Skyler Howes. Nacho Cornejo and Mason Klein are just behind them in the second group, hot on their heels. 20 km from the finish, Joan Barreda fallsbut fortunately without consequences, the pilot gets up and resumes his race.
Thus we arrive at the finish line of the stage where, also thanks to the bonuses received, Adrien Van Beveren has the fastest time, with an advantage of only 13” on Cornejo. Third place for Mason Klein, at 5’13”. This is his third Dakar victory for the French Honda rider, the last time he tasted success was on stage 11 of the Dakar in 2022.
Thanks to the fifth place of the day, Sam Howes takes the lead in the general standings, ahead of Benavides (+0.44”) and Klein (+1’40”).
On the following pages you will find how the Azzurri fared in the race, the complete classification of the stage, the general classification of the Dakar 2023, some info on the next stages and how to follow the race on TV.