Dakar Rally Stage 5 completed- Women hit sand dunes and stoney off track terrain

Dakar Rally Stage 5 completed- Women hit sand dunes and stoney off track terrain

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Dakar Rally 2020 Women Competitors Media coverage brought to you by:

Dakar Rally Stage 5 is completed with Women facing tough conditions racing in chill factor winds, sand dunes and stony tracks which proved difficult and all out tough on body- physically and mentally.

Climbing to an altitiude of almost 1,500 metres, riders and drivers prepared as best they could for long distance of 564 kms with 353 kms timed from Al- ‘Ula to Ha’il – a city renowned as one of the oldest settlements pre-Saudia era. Given tomorrow’s Stage 6 is last before Rest Day at Riyadh, competitors are fighting to maintain momentum given one seasoned rider declared: ‘”Today is when the real Dakar started. There will be really tough stages and I’ll have to be ready for them physically”‘.

Laia Sanz had consistent day despite the demanding and restricting racing conditions finishing 26th in Stage position and ranked same place Overall.

Kirsten Landman Stage 5 Overall 68th Photo Credit: Kirsten

Laia: ‘It’s been a very tough stage, with a very demanding last 200 km! If this is how it’s going to be, a lot of things are going to happen. I decided to go at a safe pace and I am happy to have reached the finish line. It’s a pity Sam Sunderland crashed because he was fighting for the victory, but the important thing is that he will recover well from his injuries. I hope he recovers quickly!

More than satisfied with her performance was Kirsten Landman commenting: ‘Starting to get into a good flow! Had some fun today. After the neutralization the tracks got super sandy, in between camel grass and down some big dunes’.

With Taye Perry picking up flu virus it’s no wonder energy is zapped yet there is no holding back the KTM rider. Finishing Stage 5 in 5 hours- 48 minutes- 23 seconds in 73rd place, Taye is proving her ability to stick with it given she stands 3rd in Women’s category behind Laia and Mirjam Pol.

Taye: ‘Special started at 8:30am sharp for me, into the bitter cold and unknown that – surprise – was my first taste of serious KM’s of camel grass dunes… short and sweet, this flu I have is a pain (in many ways), especially when my height fails me in the terribly slow stuff, and I need to manoeuvre or pick my bike up… but I can do this… and I know I’ll struggle in certain areas, but little changes in style and planning go a long way. You never stop learning!

Taye Perry Stage 5 Photo Credit: ASO

Mirjam Pol spent concentration on managing unknown sand dunes and stony terrain. Shifting lines made handling the bike harder on the body over duration of 5 hours- 24 minutes- 22 seconds. Finishing Overall 59th.

Mirjam: ‘It’s very heavy terrain and that asks a lot of my body. Even the drivers in the trucks indicate that this terrain should be very heavy for the bikers’.

‘Of course, the landscape and the terrain are beautiful and innovative, but for the time being, I am only working on dodging stones and limiting the damage as much as possible. And that’s Dakar’.

‘Physically there was quite a lot asked. On this surface you couldn’t keep a line and I had to continuously correct and jump. In this stage there were dunes but they are different dunes than we know in South America. Not that high but dangerous’.

Original by Motul rider Sara Garcia is certainly feeling the effects of riding Stages 1-5, mechanics on bike, not enough sleep- holding out for completion of Stage 6 before Rest Day at Riyadh. With few moments of ‘keep going’ Sara gathered enough strength to pick up bike, unfreeze hand, turn throttle to finish Original by Motul class Overall in 26th place.

Sara: ‘7:30 p.m. & we have finished this stage of the fifth day of Dakar Rally 2020 with the same stone yesterday mixed with sand. We have managed to enjoy as much as possible until the end of the special that they were 350km with a slightly crushed sand. Towards the end of the stage I felt the hand quite tense & we had to stop. The bike did not start but testing with Javi’s battery we could start it again✌ We are almost at the end of the first week & we will not give up, another phase that has been surpassed💪 💪

Sara Garcia Overall 98th Original by Motul 26th

In the Car category, Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno are equally consumed with navigating sandy terrain, maintaining pace and remaining up-beat on conquering loss of power on car ready for Stage 6 tomorrow.

Cristina: ‘We have had a fairly comfortable pace in the first part. The second has already been another story and it has not benefited us at all … they were dunes and the 4x4s lose their grip on these terrains. Even so, we have kept a steady pace and on the way we have helped Isidre Esteve with a piece, I hope it has served him! Tomorrow we hope to go out with all the power of the car and we have the piece to be 100%! Come on! 🐢💨

Peru’s stars Fernanda Kanno and co-driver Alonso Carillo are feeling effects of long-sustained race days-yet never able to turn away need for help from fellow competitors.

Fernanda: ‘As the days pass the fatigue in the body and in the machines is noticed, today we finish stage 5 very tired, already at night we were able to help. Combine a truck that had been hanging from a mound of sand and grass 🤣 although the rope didn’t repeat 🙈…. tomorrow we have to leave again so we go with faith 💪’.

Only female duo in SSV category Camelia Liparoti and Annett Fischer finished marathon effort of 7 hours- 47 miuntes- 14 seconds to stand 32nd in Overall class rankings.

Dakar Rally Stage 6: Ha’il to Riyadh a whooping 830kms with 477kms timed. Header Photo: Laia Sanz Stage 5 credit: Red Bull.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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