De Villiers misses Dakar podium, retains 2nd overall

2015-01-09 12:35

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers missed out on a podium finish for the first time during the 2015 Dakar Rally after completing the fifth stage yesterday.

He also lost two minutes overall against race leader Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar.

The 2009 winner and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz retained their second place overall, posting the sixth fastest time on the 458km stage between Copiapo and Antofagasta.

Mini’s Al-Attiya remained in pole position despite finishing fourth on the day, enjoying a 10-minute lead over De Villiers.

The stage belonged to Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev with Yazeed Alrajhi of Saudi Arabia finishing 20 seconds behind him.

Alrajhi retained his third overall position behind Toyota SA’s De Villiers, also with a considerable 10-minute gap between the two places.

Robbie Gordon of the United States claimed the remaining podium spot of the stage in his Hummer.

Toyota’s other South African team of Leeroy Poulter and co-driver Robert Howie experienced a nightmarish drive, posting the 39th fastest time of the day after a ninth-place the previous day.

The duo lost nearly an hour on the leaders thanks to an electrical short and the result saw them drop from 14th overall to 18th.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Nissan Prodakar team, Johan van Staden and Mark Lawrenson, continued their climb up the leaderboard.

Van Staden finished the race in 31st place, an improvement of 12 places from the previous day.

Yesterday’s performance saw them move up four places on the overall rankings to 30th.

Leading South African biker Riaan van Niekerk finished the stage in 17th place to move back into 15th place overall.

Spain’s Marc Coma claimed his maiden stage victory to close the gap on compatriot and overall leader Joan Barreda, who finished two minutes behind.

South African quad rider Willem Saaijman continued his superb form in the Dakar with a 12th place finish, an improvement of 10 places from the previous day.

Saaijman climbed three places on the overall standings to 16th.

The 2015 Dakar Rally finishes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 17 after 13 stages.

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