Dakar 2021 | SA racers impress on Stage 5 as Giniel De Villiers takes 17th career stage win

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• South African Dakar challengers had a good day out on Stage 5.

• Giniel de Villiers won the stage, followed home in second by another local team.

• Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings had a forgetful day that ended their Dakar.

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South African drivers and cars, Giniel de Villiers' Gazoo Racing Toyota Hilux and Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry in a Century CR6 Corvette, stole the show on a bittersweet Dakar Stage 5 on Thursday. At the same time, Kevin Benavides took another controversial bike victory for Honda. 

The 2021 race continued to show its teeth on a dramatic day through the Arabian Desert to Al Qaisumah. It claimed its rookie stars when SA crew Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings crashed their Toyota. Several top car crews struggled, as well. The bike class leaderboard continued to fluctuate wildly as the first starters and previous day winner lost time to navigation issues for the fifth day straight.

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All-out action

De Villiers took charge from the get-go, from Eric van Loon's Hilux, Nani Roma's Hunter and Martin Prokop's Ford, while overall leaders Stepahne Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah traded places in fifth and sixth ahead of Baragwanath. Baragwanath, guided by navigatrix Perry, was the big mover and was up to second and closing on de Villiers, who had opened up a seven-minute lead as the crews entered the long final sector. Peterhansel opened a three-minute advantage over overall rival Al-Attiyah.

Baragwanath continued to close in on De Villiers as he worked his way through the dust and passed cars after starting well back, but the wily De Villiers held on to take the day - his 17th career stage win - by a minute from his charging compatriot. Peterhansel ended up fourth from Al-Attiyah, Prokop and Orlando Terranova's Mini. 

Peterhansel now leads Al-Attiyah by six minutes, with Carlos Sainz 40 minutes back in third.

The day, however, started in dramatic fashion as first Toyota rookie stars Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings crashed out. Lategan had a sore shoulder, while Cummings was fine, but their heroic Dakar is done. They were not alone in their troubles and while former rally legends Sainz and Sébastien Loeb both took wrong turns and lost considerable time. 

Friday's 448km stage is all about dunes on the way to Dakar's Saturday rest day at Ha'il. Dakar 2021 ends a week and 4800km of racing later at Jeddah on Friday, 15 January. 

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dakar,toyota gazoo racing,giniel de villiers
Giniel de Villiers on Stage 5 at Dakar 2021
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