MIGHTY MINI IN CHARGE: Mini's Vladimir Vasilyev won Stage 5 as Mini continues to lead the 2015 Dakar Rally. Image: AP/ Felipe Dana
ANTOFAGASTA, Chile - Driver Vladimir Vasilyev held on to defending champion Mini's dominance of the 2015 Dakar Rally on Thursday (Jan 8) as the automaker took five stage wins after teams reached the Pacific Ocean.
For the first time in the 2015 event, Toyota South Africa's Giniel de Villiers failed to finish on the podium but maintains second overall in the race.
Vasilyev won the 458km run from Chile's Atacama desert, the driest place on earth, to the coastal stop of Antofagasta with the Toyota of Saudi Arabia's Yazeed Alrajhi second on the stage and still third overall.
TAKING ON THE ATACAMA
The Hummer of Robbie Gordon was third on the day while another Mini, driven by current overall leader and Naser al-Attiyah, was fourth with Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) fifth.
Four-times motorcycle winner and defending champion Marc Coma claimed his first stage victory of the 2015 race, finishing the run to Antofagasta ahead of compatriot and overall leader Joan Barreda. Chile's Pablo Quintanilla was third - a position he also achieved on Wednesday (Jan 7).
KTM rider Coma took 2min16 out of Honda star Barreda's overall lead but the latter is still more than 10 minutes ahead with Portugal's Paulo Goncalves, also on a Honda, still third in the standings after finishing fifth at Antofagasta.
TWO MARATHON STAGES AHEAD
Coma, in reference to the fine sand that can clog machines and obscure vision, said: "It was a very tough stage. There was fesh-fesh all the time and in that you cannot see the stones. It was not a comfortable to ride.
"You are always having to pay attention. It's going to be very difficult to take time from Joan but, you know, we have a lot of racing in front of us. There's the second part of the rally and we'll have two marathon stages. We will try like hell until the last day - we know Joan is very fast and that he has a very high level, but we will try, for sure."
Laia Sanz, the leading female rider, was 20th on the stage to stand at 12th overall after losing 26 minutes.
SAINZ BUGGY WOES
In the race for the title on four wheels, Carlos Sainz was out of contention before Stage 5 started on Thursday (Jan 8). He lost more than nine hours on a disastrous stage on Wednesday (Jan 7) as the caravan crossed the Andes from Argentina into Chile.
The double World Rally champion had mechanical failure on his Peugeot buggy as the team, making its Dakar return after 25 years, endured another roller-coaster day.
Sainz was forced to pull off the track and wait for his support truck to arrive to fix his car.
Stay with Wheels24 for daily coverage of the 2015 Dakar Rally.
Dakar Rally results on Thursday January 8 after Stage 5 from Copiapo to
Antofagasta in Chile (697km total/458km timed):
1 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini)
2 Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Gttschalk (KSA/GER/Toyota) +20sec
3 Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/USA/Gordini) +1min25
4 Nasser al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) +3min24
5 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret
6 Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz
7 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) +8min49
8 Nani Roma/Michel Prin (ESP/FRA/Mini) +10min02
9 Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) +11min35
10 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/ARG/Mini) +11min54
Overall (after five stages)
1 Nasser al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 16hr53min26
2 Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz
3 Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Gttschalk (KSA/GER/Toyota) +20min29
4 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) +48min55
5 Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) + 53min25
6 Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) +56min19
7 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini)
8 Christian Lavieille/Pascal Maimon (FRA/FRA/Toyota) +1hr13min59
9 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret
10 Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KAZ/RUS/Mini) +1hr21min32
1 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 4hr38min16
2 Joan Barreda (ESP/Honda) +2min16
3 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/KTM) +2min40
4 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +3min54
5 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Honda) +4min37
6 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +6min35
7 Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) +7min10
8 Matthias Walkner (AUT/KTM) +7min24
9 Alain Duclos (FRA/Sherco Tvs) +9min57
10 Toby Price (AUS/KTM) 10:05
Overall (after five stages)
1 Joan Barreda (ESP/Honda) 17hr51min05
2 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 10min33
3 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Honda) 22min50
4 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/KTM) 31min06
5 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) 36min23
6 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) 38min13
7 Matthias Walkner (AUT/KTM) 38min36
8 Toby Price (AUS/KTM) 39min54
9 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) 42min05
10 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) 43min24