Stage Five of the 2013 Dakar saw Carlos Sainz recover from his recent setbacks and put on a driving masterclass for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team.
Less than seven hours after returning to the bivouac in Arequipa after a troubled Stage Four the Spaniard was back in his Buggy and ready to tackle the deserts of Peru once again. Carlos and co-driver Timo Gottschalk started the day as the 23rd vehicle onto the stage and wasted no time in the battle to overtake as many cars as possible. Carlos used all of his rally experience to end the stage with the fifth fastest time of the day.
At the very front of the race Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Lucas Cruz were once again handed the tricky job of opening the stage. A small navigational error saw the pair lose a few minutes on the lead but they still did enough to maintain second place in the overall rankings. With both Buggies finishing the day with no major mechanical issues to report things are looking good for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team ahead of Stage Six.
The 2013 Dakar has now left Peru and entered Chile with stages in Argentina also still to come. Both Carlos and Nasser have won previous editions of the Dakar hosted by Chile and Argentina and can be confident of mastering the challenges ahead.
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We lost a little bit of time today because of our navigation but it was not a critical amount. We found our way back to the route quickly and that avoided a small problem from becoming a big one.
“I was very impressed by the professional job that my team-mates Carlos and Timo did today. They arrived back at the bivouac after midnight last night and only had a few hours to prepare for today’s stage. For them to finish this stage in fifth place after the problems they have had in the last couple of days was a great performance. We are looking in good shape for another strong day tomorrow.”
Lucas Cruz (co-driver of Nasser Al-Attiyah): “We had a small problem finding the way today. This can happen so easily when you’re the first car onto the stage like we were again today. It was not an easy stage to navigate but we ended up okay in the end. This was the second day we have had to open the road but tomorrow we will start as the seventh car and this will help us.”
Carlos Sainz: “Today was better than the last two stages for us so that was good. We had no trouble with the car and that allowed us to push on today’s stage. Because of yesterday’s result we started behind many cars and each time we overtook we lost a little time.
“After a long day yesterday and pushing on today’s stage I’m ready to have a rest tonight. We are now concentrated on taking each stage as it comes and achieving the best result we can day by day. We are also here to help Nasser to fight for the lead. I think we have the potential for a good result on tomorrow’s stage.”
Timo Gottschalk (co-driver of Carlos Sainz): “We were really trying to overtake at every opportunity that came our way on the stage. The huge amount of dust on the stage caused us a problem because it was not always easy to get close enough to get past. Following the cars we were behind lost us some time but I think overall we can be happy with the job that we did.