2012 Dakar Stage 5 Results and Stage 6 Cancelled Due to Snow!

For Day 5 of the 2012 Dakar bike class it was business as usual.  Despres and Coma on their KTM bikes at the front of the field and then there is everyone else.  Today Despres finished 1:41 ahead of Coma to extend his Overall lead over Coma to 9:51.  This competition between these two great riders will likely go on for the rest of the Dakar 2012 rally.

Results: Bikes Stage 5
1 Despres KTM
2 Coma KTM 1:41
3 Barredo-Bort Husqvarna 12:42
4 Svitko KTM 13:55
5 Vilodoms KTM 14:17
Results:   Overall Bikes After Stage 5
1 Despres KTM
2 Coma KTM 9:51
3 Rodriques Yamaha 47:56
4 Lopez Aprilia 49:00
5 Goncalves Husqvarna 54:47

The car class is much more volatile.  Today Polish driver Holowczyc drove his MINI to a Stage 5 victory.  He finished 1:01 ahead of Robby Gordon in his Hummer.  Yesterday’s overall leader Peterhansel finished third on Stage 5, but he still has a 4:18 lead over his MINI team mate Holowczyc.

Robby Gordon had a fairly trouble free day finishing second on the stage and gained almost three minutes on the Overall leader Peterhansel.  Gordon moved from 5th Overall to 4th Overall.

De Villiers had a big problem today as he got stuck badly.  He finished the Day 5 stage over 19 minutes behind the winner.  De Villiers fell from 2nd Overall to the 5th Overall position just over 21 minutes behind the leader Peterhansel.

DPPI Photo of Car 415 Mognier/Vautier in the Sand

Results: Cars Stage 5
1 Holowczyc MINI
2 Gordon Hummer 1:01
3 Peterhansel MINI 3:52
4 Roma MINI 7:47
9 De Villiers Toyota 19:12
11 Al-Attiyah Hummer 50:47
Results:   Overall Cars After Stage 5
1 Peterhansel MINI
2 Holowczyc MINI 4:18
3 Roma MINI 10:39
4 Gordon Hummer 13:32
5 De Villiers Toyota 21:01
8 Al-Attiyah Hummer 50:47

As you see from the Stage 5 results Al-Attiyah had a bad Day 5.  Al-Attiyah said that the spare wheel on his Hummer was loose and it hit the engine water pipe, breaking it and after that the engine temperature was very high, so they had to stop to make repairs and lost a lot of time.

I think that it is now time for Robby Gordon and Al Attiyah to have a good strategy session.  Al-Attiyah is in a very difficult position to win, but Gordon is in a good position to win; however Al-Attiyah is very fast.  Gordon will be starting ahead of Al-Attiyah, but if Al-Attiyah pushes to try to move up, then he would likely pass Robby Gordon.  If Al-Attiyah is ahead of Gordon, then servicing or assisting Gordon become difficult.  It seems to me that Al-Attiyah should push early on the stages perhaps pass Gordon, but only run just ahead of Gordon at the maximum.  That way he can easily respond to a Gordon problem and even assist in the navigation.  This strategy would allow Al-Attiyah to slowly cut away at his Overall standing deficit, but clearly would need problems to happen to the cars ahead of him.

In an interesting and unfortunate development at the start of Stage 5, Andy Girder, the American co-driver/navigator for Orlando Terranova in an Toyota decided to quit this year’s Dakar.  Apparently Girder and Terranova were arguing on Stage 4, a stage where they finished an impressive second, and things deteriorated to the point that Girder must have decided that he had had enough and he quit.  As a result, because no substitutions are permitted, Terranova had to withdraw from the 2012 Dakar and he did not start Stage 5.  For this to have happened, after all of the time and money spent to get to Dakar, it must have been one hell of an argument!

It appears that Stage 6 has been cancelled due to snow!  In a statement issued by Dakar officials, they said: “Due to the bad weather continuing over the Andes Cordillera (rain and  snow), the Chilean authorities were forced to close, for the night, the  border at Paso de San Francisco, situated at 4700m.”

“For the 7th  time, the Dakar is about to cross over the Andes, and because of very  unfavourable conditions, added to the fact that the course has been hit  by rain and snow, in order to guarantee the security of the competitors  and those following the rally, the organisers have decided to organise a  convoy for all vehicles tomorrow.”

“The itinerary has been changed after  the border (follow the main road on the right which goes to Diego de  Almagro).”

Stage seven, a loop stage from Copiapo and back via Vallenar will be the next competitive stage of the race.  The lost stage means that the Hummer team has to very soon develop and implement a finishing/winning strategy if they hope to achieve victory.  Remaining stage time is turning into a factor to consider.

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