As Peterhansel took another step towards his 14th Dakar title Loeb's dream of winning his first Dakar was left in tatters after his vehicle twice ran into early sand trouble on the run from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipe in Peru.
In the motorbike race, Honda rider Kevin Benavides of Argentina has the overall lead after finishing second, 30 seconds behind stage victor Frenchman Antoine Meo, riding a KTM. Siarhei Viazovich is the best of the rest in the third spot in the general standings.
KTM rider Toby Price set the exact same time as Benavides on the day but was classified third, with Diego Duplessis fourth for Honda ahead of Daniel Oliveras Carreras of KTM, while Husqvarna's Pablo Quintanilla was sixth ahead of Daniel Nosiglia and van Beveren. Aravind's dream of becoming the only second Indian to finish the Dakar Rally has shattered again due to this unfortunate incident.
Though hampered by a nagging wrist injury, the Spaniard was aggressive from the start, determined to gain ground after a crash forced defending champion Sam Sunderland to abandon the race on Tuesday.
A challenging stage for the cars today included a 15,500ft-high passage to overcome.
The notorious rally spans a healthy portion of January, this year running Jan 6-20, with a rest day in La Paz, Bolivia, for a total of 14 stages and nearly 5,600 miles of race fun.
Santosh chose to play it safe and steady as the rally neared the halfway mark to finish the stage at 52nd position. "The rally got really fast since coming to Bolivia but one should not get overexcited to overtake unnecessarily", Santosh said after the day's action. I was feeling a bit exhausted in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage.
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The fifth stage was one of the toughest stages so far with 508 km liaison section and 226 km of the special stage making up for a total of 774km.
"The dunes were really churned up and the sand was incredibly soft".
"We did not have dust today so I knew it was my best chance to pass a few guys and I tried to make the most of the opportunity".
The pilots will be received this Thursday in front of the Hernando Siles Stadium of this city and later they will go to the camp of Irpavi, in the south of the city, to rest a day before continuing their journey.
The biggest happening in Stage 5 was the exit of Sherco TVS rider Aravind KP. He gained over 40 positions on his overnight ranking of 98, to finish the stage and overall at 56th place.
For the fifth stage, the organisers separated the route for bikes/quads and cars/trucks.
The trucks and the cars, therefore, were the first to discover the stage, even before their riders, as they made their way through the sands of Tanaka, traversing through 30km or so of mountain dunes.