The Dakar moved into Chile’s Arica desert for the fifth stage covering a slow and cumbersome 257 miles (411 km) with 85 miles (136km) of special test. It almost seemed like an enduro race. In fact, it was enduro rider Alessandro Botturi who showed his true colors bringing the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain a well-earned fourth place. After Barreda’s two stage wins and Goncalves’ second place, Botturi rode his Husqvarna TE449RR into fourth place for the second time. In doing so he moves up two places in the overall standings. Now the Italian rider is in 7th place overall.
Husqvarna’s “special customer” Jordi Viladoms on a TE449RR by Speedbrain, put in his usual consistent performance, coming in 17th today and fifth overall, moving up to lead the Husqvarna riders. The ‘fesh-fesh’ dust and large rocks made life difficult for Goncalves in the special, where he strived not to make mistakes and finished in 14th place.
Likewise, Barreda had an unlucky day by first picking up a 15-minute penalty for an engine change last night. The engine was substituted as a precaution when a faulty bearing was found. Then Barreda had trouble with his fuel pump 100 miles into today’s special stage and ended the stage in last place. Barreda drops from fourth to 54th place overall and is now over three hours behind the leaders perhaps ending his hopes for a title.
Tomorrow sees the caravan roll on to Argentina with an extremely long 477 miles (764 km) stage with 282 miles (454 km) of special test.
Alessandro Botturi: ”I set out to win today, but it turned out to be more tricky than I’d imagined. I was unable to attack in the way I’d have liked because of the lack of visibility and the fesh-fesh, but it was a good stage for me.”
Paulo Goncalves: ”I was really careful today. It was a very dangerous stage with a very hazardous terrain. It would have been easy to fall, so I tried not to make any mistakes and get through the stage.”
Jordi Viladoms: ”I’m really pleased with my Husqvarna. I’m really getting on well with it. Today was a very hazardous stage and I tried to keep a steady pace. I’m very satisfied with my fifth overall place so far.”
Result of Stage 5:
1. Casteu (FRA, Yamaha)
2. Pain (FRA, Yamaha) 1’09”
3. Pedrero (Spa , KTM) 2’58”
4. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3’25”
14. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 6’27”
17. Viladoms (Spa, Husqvarna) 7’23”
119. Matt Fish (AUS, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 2h30’33”
120. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3h00’03”
Overall Standings after five stages:
1. Pain (FRA, Yamaha),
2. Casteu (FRA, Yamaha) 1’15”
3. Despres (FRA, KTM) 6’07”
4. Faria (PRT, KTM) 13’34”
5. Viladoms (ESP, Husqvarna) 13’36”
7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 14’00”
16. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 24’47”
54. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3h04’32”
56. Matt Fish (AUS, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3h05”10”