Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report: Barreda Blasts Back, Van Beveren Still Leads

Jean Turner | January 10, 2018

Joan Barreda crushed it today on Dakar Rally Stage 5, taking the victory by over 10 minutes and slicing his deficit to the leader, Adrien Van Beveren, in half. After his dominant ride through the dunes of San Juan de Marcona (the last day in the punishing sands of Peru), the Monster Energy Honda rider boosted himself from 13th place to fourth in overall standings.

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report Joan Barreda
“I set a blistering pace throughout the stage and it worked,” said Joan Barreda. The Monster Energy Honda rider was in a league of his own today, dominating the field by over 10 minutes. Photography by Monster Energy Honda

“It was a good day in the end,” Barreda said. “I set a blistering pace throughout the stage and it worked. I knew it was the last day on the dunes so I had to attack. That’s exactly what I did and I gained some time back. I’m back in the top 10, and although the deficit is still big, I’m sure I’ll find an opening.”

It helped Barreda that Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren conceded some time in Dakar Rally Stage 5 as he fought his way through the soft dunes. The Frenchman had his work cut out for him opening the track through the lengthy and difficult stage, but he still emerged with the lead following his fifth-place finish on the day, even if only by one minute over Honda’s Kevin Benavides.

“I’d never seen sand so loose before,” Van Beveren commented. “There was a moment when I had to pedal with my legs to get over a dune. I’m happy to be done for today because it was tough. Getting here first after spending the entire stage up front is an awesome performance in my book, even if the guys behind probably gained some time on me.”

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report Adrien Van Beveren
Through sand dunes that move like water, it wasn’t an easy day for Dakar Rally competitors today. But Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren managed to emerge with the overall lead in tact. Photography by Yamalube Yamaha Official

Once again, Van Beveren attacked the course alongside his Yamaha teammate Xavier de Soultrait, and the team is quickly discovering the merits of teamwork, especially in the face of obstacles like quicksand.

“I started right behind Adrien and caught him in the dunes,” De Soultrait said. “I’d never seen sand so loose before. It’s incredible; it changes shape. Quicksand is no joke. There was a moment when I’d missed a waypoint and he showed me where it was. He later got stuck in the sand so I stopped to see if he could get out. If KTM have won so many times, it’s probably because they’re good at this game. Now we’re realizing just how far we can go.”

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report

Kevin Benavides of the Monster Energy Honda team and Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner both had strong days, and after a 480-mile day with 165 miles of timed special, they both sit barely a minute from the lead. Benavides is currently second (+1:00) and Walkner a close third (+1:14). They were both able to step forward in standings after Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla took a hit today, losing 28 minutes. Quintanilla started the day in second overall, but after difficulties in stage 5, including a crash early in the day, the Chilean rider sank to ninth, now more than 16 minutes out of the lead.

“That was such an exhausting day,” Walkner said. “They said the rally this year was going to be one of the toughest ever and it’s certainly the hardest Dakar so far for me. After five days of riding I’m starting to feel a little sore. I had a little crash today too and hurt myself a little so that didn’t help. There is still a long way to go on the rally and so far, things are going well. My bike has been perfect and my pace is certainly good enough. I just need to stay focused and hopefully Bolivia and Argentina will be good for us, too.”

The KTM team is pleased to have the sand dunes of Peru behind them and the team in good standing. They were also happy to offer an update on Sam Sunderland, saying that he is being discharged from the hospital and will be able to travel home.

Dakar Rally Stage 5 report Sam Sunderland
The KTM team is happy to report that Sam Sunderland is doing well and will be discharged from the hospital with no serious injuries. Photography by PhotosDakar.com/KTM media

“Sam Sunderland has been giving the all-clear from the hospital and will hopefully be released either tonight or tomorrow morning,” explained KTM Rally Team Manager Alex Doringer on Wednesday afternoon. “He will then be ready to fly home to Europe.”

American rider Ricky Brabec fared well, finishing ninth in the stage and graduating into the top-10 overall, now 10th (up from 12th overall yesterday). Andrew Short is steadily plugging away aboard his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, finishing 23rd in the stage and sitting 23rd overall.

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Report

Today marked the final stage in the sandy deserts of western Peru. The rally now moves on to Bolivia, and riders will travel from Arequipa to La Paz for stage 6, including a 195-mile special.

Competitors are likely happy to leave the shifting sands of Peru behind them, as the dunes have taken a devastating toll on racers—most notably in the car and truck categories. But as the rally now turns east and heads into Bolivia, they face a new challenge of altitude. Stage 6 includes passes of over 15,000 feet as they make their way through the Andes Mountains onto the Altiplano (high plains of Bolivia). Fortunately there is only one more stage before the much-needed rest day on Day 7.

Overall Ranking after Stage 5:

  1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yam) 14:37:40
  2. Kevin Benavides (Hon) +1:00
  3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) +1:14
  4. Joan Barreda (Hon) +7:33
  5. Xavier de Soultrait (Yam) +7:42
  6. Toby Price (KTM) +10:39
  7. Antoine Meo (KTM) +12:12
  8. Gerard Farres Guell (Yam) +15:24
  9. Pablo Quintanilla (Hus) +16:12
  10. Ricky Brabec (Hon) +25:48


  1. Laia Sanz (KTM) +57:50


  1. Andrew Short (Hus) +1:11:11


  1. Mark Samuels (Hon) +3:47:15
  2. Shane Esposito (KTM) +3:54:10



Jean Turner | Contributor A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.