After five sensational stages in the sands of Peru the 2019 Dakar Rally has reached the midway point. Today’s Rest Day was a chance for competitors to take stock of the rally so far and prepare themselves for the challenges that still lie ahead. The bivouac in Arequipa was a hive of activity from dawn until dusk as race vehicles were tuned up for the route back to Lima.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) has built up a lead of 25 minutes in the car race as he chases down his third Dakar win. Al-Attiyah has collected two stage wins in his Toyota Hilux alongside co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) in the first week of the rally. Nasser also has the support of fellow Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) who has vowed to help his team-mate however he can.
« It’s great to be leading the Dakar at the halfway mark, but there’s still a long way to go. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah
Al-Attiyah’s nearest rival is 13-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA). The Frenchman is set to pounce on any opportunities that come up in the remaining five stages.
« In this first week I’ve seen fesh-fesh like I’ve never seen before. Soft powdery sand that is one metre deep! » – Stéphane Peterhansel
Peterhansel’s fellow MINI John Cooper Works Buggy drivers Cyril Despres (FRA) and Carlos Sainz (ESP) saw their own chances of victory fade in the first week. Both are determined to help Peterhansel in his quest for a 14th Dakar win.
« It’s been a tough first week, but I’m still here. I’m committed to the race and to my team. » – Carlos Sainz
Chasing down both Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel are Kuba Przygonski (POL) and Sébastien Loeb (FRA). 2018 Cross Country Rally World Cup winner Przygonski is fourth overall, one place in front of nine-time WRC winner Loeb.
« We want to push hard after the rest day. Let’s see what we can achieve. » – Kuba Przygonski
Watch a recap of the first five stages of the 2019 Dakar Rally right here
The Red Bull KTM Factory Team have reached the Rest Day with three riders still in with a shot of winning the bike race. Sam Sunderland (GBR), Toby Price (AUS) and Matthias Walkner (AUT) are within touching distance of the overall lead and all know what it takes to the win the Dakar.
« We have to try and manage each day the best we can, stay consistent and avoid big mistakes. » – Sam Sunderland
Also coming on strong in the latter part of the Dakar’s first week have been the KTM Factory riders Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Laia Sanz (ESP). Sanz is on course to be the best placed female biker at the Dakar once again.
« It’s been a difficult Dakar to enjoy because the stages have been very dangerous with lots of fesh-fesh. » – Laia Sanz
Closing in on their pre-race targets are Stefan Svitko (SLO), Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS) and Mohammed Balooshi (ARE).
« I’m in the Original by Motul class so I’m doing everything by myself, all the work on the bike. Three days ago I slept just three hours because I was preparing the bike for the marathon stage. » – Anastasiya Nifontova
Unfortunately the Dakar has ended prematurely for a pair of Red Bull Desert Wings bikers. Walter Nosiglia (BOL) and CS Santosh (IND) are down but not out and are already planning a trip back to Dakar next year.
« Happy to let everybody know that I’m going to make a full recovery soon. Other than a bad headache and a really sore back I’m doing well. » – CS Santosh
In the truck race it’s hard to see anybody stopping Team Kamaz Master from picking up another Dakar win. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) currently leads the contest and his team-mate Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) is in second place. The gap back to the next trucker is nearly two hours after five stages in Peru.
« My crew, the mechanic and co-pilot, have completed their tasks perfectly. » – Eduard Nikolaev
In the side-by-side/UTV class it has been a tough first week for Chaleco Lopez (CHI) in his Can-Am and also Ignacio Casale (CHI) in his Yamaha machine. Lopez led the category after three stages, but now finds himself in fifth overall. Meanwhile Casale is knocking on the door of the Top 10 as he sits in 11th place in the general classifications.
« We are fifth and we intend to advance as much as possible. » – Chaleco Lopez
2019 Dakar Rally Car Race (after five stages of 10)
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) – Toyota, 17h19m53s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) – Mini Buggy, +24m42s
3. Nani Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro Bravo (ESP) – Mini Rally, +34m33s
4. Kuba Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) – Mini Rally, +38m12s
5. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MON) – Peugeot, +40m00s
6. Cyril Despres (FRA)/ Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) – Mini Buggy, +01h12m47s…
19. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/ Lucas Cruz (ESP) – Mini Buggy, +05h 13m22s…
23. Giniel De Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (DEU) – Toyota, +06h26m48s…
2019 Dakar Rally Bike Race (after five stages of 10)
1. Ricky Brabec (USA) – Honda, 16h51m34s
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR) – KTM, +59s
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) – Husqvarna, +02m52s
4. Toby Price (AUS) – KTM, +03m21s
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA) – Yamaha, +06m36s
7. Matthias Walkner (AUT) – KTM, +09m17s
9. Stefan Svitko (SVK) – KTM, +26m28s…
13. Luciano Benavides (ARG) – KTM, +48m42s…
15. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL) – Honda, +01h16m48s…
19. Laia Sanz (ESP) – KTM, +01h37m50s…
37. Mohammed Balooshi (ARE) – Husqvarna, +04h42m07s…
87. Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS) – Husqvarna, +11h45m37s…
2019 Dakar Rally Truck Race (after five stages of 10)
1. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) – Kamaz, 19h45m37s
2. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) – Kamaz, +11m54s
3. Gerard De Rooy (NDL) – Iveco, +01h58m49s
4. Ton Van Genugten (NDL) – Iveco, +02h15m23s
5. Ales Loprais (CZE) – Tatra, +02h54m01s…
8. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) – Kamaz, +03h30m46s…
2019 Dakar Rally SxS/UTV Race (after five stages of 10)
1. Rodrigo Javier Moreno Piazzoli (CHI) Can-Am, 21h36m25s
2. Reinaldo Varela (BRA) – Can-Am, +01m42s
3. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP) – Can-Am, +14m08s
4. Sergei Kariakin (RUS) – BRP, +28m37s
5. Chaleco Lopez (CHI) – Can-Am, +01h29m31s…
11. Ignacio Casale (CHI) – Yamaha, +02h35m53s…
2019 Dakar Rally Quad Race (after five stages of 10)
1. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG) – Yamaha, 20h57m30s
2. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (ARG) – Yamaha, +49m30s
3. Gustavo Gallego (ARG) – Yamaha, +01h05m26s
4. Alexandre Giroud (FRA) – Yamaha, +02h01m53s
5. Santiago Hansen (ARG) – Honda, +02h41m15s…
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « We had a very good marathon stage. The car was in perfect condition despite the distance we had to cover. we decided to moderate our pace somewhat on stage five. Even so, we are happy to have gone second-fastest on the day – and even happier to be leading the Dakar at the halfway mark.