Stage five began with Monster Energy Honda team’s Joan Barreda Bort taking the lead. Following him was KTM Factory team’s Daniel Sanders, as Monster Energy Yamaha team’s Ross Branch, despite finishing at P2 yesterday, received a 1-minute penalty and had no option except starting at the fourth position.
The fifth day may not have been a good day for Indian motorsport fans as the favourite Hero MotoSport C S Santosh had a serious crash during the fourth special. Along with C S, Rally Pov team’s Interno Tiziano and privateer Eric Martinez also had to withdraw from the bikes category.
With an excellent pace, Husqvarna rider Xavier De Soultrait takes the lead leaving JBB 15 seconds behind him. At the first time check, we saw Monster Energy Honda team’s Kevin Benavides in the lead, followed by Monster Energy Honda team’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo and JBB in third, where JBB retained his P3 spot until a navigation error caused him to lose 17 minutes. After the 250km mark, we saw Benavides continue his lead till the 330km mark, after which he fell, injuring his nose. Taking leverage of the Benavides mishap Nacho Cornejo, another Monster Energy Honda team member tried to get into P1 but couldn’t make it.
Despite a bad fall, Kevin Benavides made it to the end of the stage at P1 with a time of 05:09:50 hours, following him was teammate Nacho Cornejo with a difference of just a minute, with RedBull KTM Factory team rider Toby Price at P3, separated by a 01:20 minute gap between him and the leader.
Stage 6 begins tomorrow from Al Qaisumah to Ha’il, a distance of 662km including a 448km special, all of which will be smooth and sandy and will feature all kinds of dunes, testing the riders’ abilities.