Extreme weather, long days on the bike and navigational pitfalls have made the opening week of the 2017 Dakar Rally challenging for all competitors.
Due to the torrential rain which soaked the course of Stage 5 and 6, Dakar organisers made the bold but safe decision to cut short the fifth stage and cancel Stage 6.
Stage 7 has been rerouted and a new course will take riders on some of the original tracks from the cancelled sixth stage and Stage 7. The new stage will consist of a 161km special between a 400km link section in the morning and another 240km link section to finish off the stage. Making for a total of 801km. Riders will finish the day in Uyuni, Bolivia.
Red Bull KTM’s Sam Sunderland, teammate to the injured defending champion Toby Price, led the overall coming into the rest day in La Paz after winning the shortened Stage 5. The Englishman became the fifth different winner in five stages and holds a 15-minute lead over closest rivals Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) and Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha).
Joan Barreda produced a stunning two-day performance, but his aspirations went up in smoke after he was handed down a 1-hour penalty for refuelling outside the permitted area. Subsequent navigation errors left him 1h12m adrift of the overall leader.
The remaining Australian riders of Todd Smith and Matthew Hart sit 16th and 63rd overall respectively.
1 14 G1/1 1/1 SUNDERLAND SAM (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY REPLICA 15h22m05s
2 3 G1/2 1/2 QUINTANILLA PABLO (CHL) HUSQVARNA FR 450 RALLY 15h34m05s +12m00s
3 6 G1/3 1/3 VAN BEVEREN ADRIEN (FRA) YAMAHA WR450F 15h38m12s +16m07s
4 8 G1/4 1/4 FARRES GUELL GERARD (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY 15h43m02s +20m57s
5 16 G1/5 1/5 WALKNER MATTHIAS (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY REPLICA 05m00s 15h51m06s +29m01s
6 23 G2/1 1/1 DE SOULTRAIT XAVIER (FRA) YAMAHA WR 450 F 01m00s 15h58m11s +36m06s
7 31 G2/2 1/2 RENET PIERRE ALEXANDRE (FRA) HUSQVARNA FR 450 RALLY 16h16m50s +54m45s
8 34 G2/3 1/3 DUPLESSIS DIEGO MARTIN (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY EXC – 20m21s 16h27m00s +01h04m55s
9 17 G1/6 1/6 GONÇALVES PAULO (PRT) HONDA CRF450RALLY 48m20s 16h30m26s +01h08m21s
10 27 G2/4 1/4 1 RODRIGUES JOAQUIM (PRT) HERO SPEEDBRAIN 450 RALLY – 27m01s 16h32m25s +01h10m20s
16 79 G2/8 1/8 SMITH TODD (AUS) KTM 450 RR 25m00s 17h04m04s +01h41m59s
63 149 G2/50 1/37 16 HART MATTHEW (AUS) HUSQVARNA FR450 RALLY 16m00s 20h33m21s +05h11m16s