Return to the dunes !
2024 Dakar stage 5: Return to the dunes!
The fifth stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally had the riders racing, from Al-Hofuf to Shubaytah, for a total of 645 km including 118 km of special and 527 km of liaison.
The course was mainly in the dunes.
Rui Gonçalves rode in the top 10 for part of the special. He was however the victim of a fall in a dune, he left with pain in his thumb, had to reconnect the navigation system which had been moved out of position because of the fall. He lost contact with the race leaders and ended up finishing the day in 18th position.
He managed the navigation well and found the right pace again from the start. He is 15th in the provisional general classification.
Harith Noah finished 20th in the stage and is 18th in the provisional general classification.
As we write these lines, the entire team is preparing for another marathon stage which will last for 48 hours. Tomorrow evening, the riders will not have any outside assistance.
Stage 5 Ranking
Rui Gonçalves: P18
Harith Noah: P20
Provisional general classification
Rui Gonçalves: P15
Harith Noah: P18
“Today was a sandy stage, we had a lot of dunes, and the stage was shorter. I felt good and everything was going well, but around halfway through the special, in one of the dunes, I came upon a rider who had fallen. I shifted a little to the right and unfortunately, I also fell. This made me waste a little time, I had to reconnect the navigation instruments which had been disconnected during the fall. I was, however, able to leave and finish the special. Now we must recover because the next two days are going to be difficult, but with a good rest tonight, it will be OK! I will give everything to do my best in the coming days.
Thank you to everyone for the support and thanks to the whole team for the good work they do.”
“It was a short stage and only made up of dunes. I felt good, but I had a little problem, sand slipped into my fuel during refueling. I am very happy to cross the finish line today. Now it’s time to rest and recover well before the marathon stage that starts tomorrow!”
Tomorrow, the riders will set off for the sixth stage of the Dakar, from Shubaytah to Shubaytah, 626 km of special and 209 km of liaison.
This stage will be a brand new concept the 48h:
“This unprecedented challenge has the competitors quaking in their boots. While this is also a two-day stage, the experience of marathon stages will not be of much use in the new paradigm of the 48 h chrono stage. Imagine the grandiose clang of a bell filling the twilight air in the Empty Quarter, ordering every single competitor to halt their vehicle and spend the night under the starry skies before getting back on the move at sunrise. This is how this new challenge will work. The time limit is 4 pm. When the clock strikes four, the entrants will have to stop at the next of the six rest areas that punctuate the course of the special (see the map). Once they get there, the competitors will receive bare-bones camping material and just enough provisions to make it through the night in the desert, without any connection and, therefore, without any information on how their rivals are doing. Cut off from the rest of the world.
Never before have the title contenders in the motorbike category spent eight hours in a special. The Empty Quarter, with dunes as far as the eye can see, will set the scene for this historic first. The race is no stranger to this area, but the difficulty of this larger-than- life special has been kicked up a notch. Chotts will give the competitors some time to breathe between one dune chain and the next. However, the navigation will be fiendishly difficult, with hard-to-find courses and hidden WPs that will drive many entrants round the bend: “I won’t be winning any popularity contests”, sighs David Castera. In fact, his old brothers in arms in the car category will face the same challenge as the two-wheelers. The FIA and FIM entrants will follow separate courses, so the co-drivers will have to do without the motorbikes’ traces”.