Day five, featuring the fifth stage from Chilecito to Tucuman, was a gruelling and first of all hot day for all the competitors. Nani Roma and his French navigator Michel Périn, however, proved to be unstoppable and secured not only the stage win but also regained the overall lead. Orlando Terranova (ARG) / Paulo Fiúza (POR) finished fourth, with their orange MINI ALL4 Racing, with French pairing Stéphane Peterhansel, Jean-Paul Cottret and their black MINI ALL4 Racing finishing right behind them, in fifth position. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) in the red MINI All4 Racing had to settle for finishing 21st. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Lucas Cruz (ESP) finished fifth but received a one-hour time penalty and consequently, they dropped back to 22nd.
Actually, today’s special stage was supposed to feature a mileage of more than 500 kilometres, thus once again being one of the longest of the 2014 Dakar. Due to the extreme heat, however, the ASO opted for stopping the special stage early – after 429 kilometres, at CP1. Already at the end of the first part of the special stage – prior to the 111-kilometre neutralisation – the gaps on the time sheets proved to partly be massive. Because of the difficult navigation, numerous competitors had lost their way.
Périn however, the navigator of Roma, had no major problems when it came to finding the right way, thus enabling Roma to take the yellow MINI ALL4 Racing to the lead. “Michel did a fantastic job today,” the Spaniard beamed in the bivouac. “We got lost just once, in the dunes at the beginning of stage two. But you have to consider that we had to take the pathfinder role. Altogether, it was an extremely gruelling and hot day and I’m really happy to now be here in the bivouac.”
For Terranova, the navigation turned out to be crucial. “We had a good pace and things ran well for us but then, we certainly lost some 20 minutes while looking for a waypoint,” explained the Argentinean, who nonetheless was delighted by the difficulty level of the special stage. “The ASO did a great job. This was the most difficult special stage I had to race in my entire career to date.” Terranova now holds second position in the overall standings, 31 minutes behind Roma.
Peterhansel also regards today’s special stage as one of the most difficult ones he had to contest in South America to date. “This was a true Dakar special stage,” the Frenchman said enthusiastically. “From a driving point of view, it wasn’t big fun as the terrain was extremely hard for both our bodies and the material.” Peterhansel also got lost on the way to the waypoint and lost valuable time while looking for it. The French now holds third position, nearly 40 minutes behind Roma.
Al-Attiyah had even bigger problems when it came to the waypoint: “This was a difficult day for us,” he said. “Unfortunately we didn’t find the waypoint.” Therefore, he received a one-hour time penalty, dropped back to 22nd position in the stage ranking and to fifth in the overall standings.
Adrian Yacopini and Marco Scopinaro in the BMW X3 CC had an accident in the early stages. Yacopini was flown to the hospital for further examinations but the Argentinean already is back with the team.
Result stage 5:
1. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 27m 01s
2. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 4h 31m 21s
3. R. Gordon (USA) / K. Walch (USA) Hummer – 4h 47m 13s
4. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 47m 45s
6. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 50m 56s
10. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 11m 42s
14. M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 20m 33s
16. B. Garafulic (CHI) / G. Picard (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 30m 22s
21. K. Holowczyc (POL) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 45m 06s
22. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 48m 39s
27. F. Villagra (ARG) / J. P. Companc (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 24m 37s
38. S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 7h 15m 29s
48. Zhou Yong (CHN) / Hong Yu Pan (CHN) MINI ALL4 Racing – 8h 03m 47s
Overall results after stage 5:
1. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 19h 21m 54s
2. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 19h 53m 50s
3. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 20h 01m 53s
4. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 20h 03m 18s
5. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 20h 48m 22s
10. K. Holowczyc (POL) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 21h 44m 53s
12. M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 22h 01m 58s
13. F. Villagra (ARG) / J. P. Companc (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 22h 04m 36s
14. B. Garafulic (CHI) / G. Picard (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 22h 25m 56s
20. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 24h 20m 34s
28. S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 25h 16m 00s
43. Zhou Yong (CHN) / Hong Yu Pan (CHN) MINI ALL4 Racing – 31h 42m 15s