Dakar 5 – US rooky wins day 5



The 763 km fifth day of the Dakar, including a 506 km "special", saw American Jonah Street take his first-ever Dakar stage win after overall leader Marc Coma suffered tire problems. That moved Street up into second overall behind Coma, who retains a 27-minute lead a third of the way into the 2009 edition of the Dakar.

Both Coma and Street are aboard KTMs, while third-place David Fretigne of France retains third on his Yamaha with a sixth on today’s stage. KTM had 142 of the original 235 entries, and after five stages the company owns nine of the top 10 spots.

Street said, "I did some pretty good navigating. I was not the fastest because my bike is so much slower than the ones of the manufacturers’ riders. But I found the right path and this is what the Dakar is all about. I am not thinking about the general standings. I just want to go on driving at my own pace and taking care of my bike as good as I can to get to the finish of the raid."

Coma was glad just to get through the day. "There were quite a lot of sand dunes and rocks today and a lot of kilometres too. I fell at the 81st kilometre, and then I drove slow the rest of the day. What mattered for me was to get to the stage finish with no other trouble, and I made it."

It was a apparently a particularly vicious day, as there were only 68 active competitors recorded on the Dakar site at time of writing, down from 170 yesterday and 235 starters five days ago. Ouch!

On the car side, Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah of Qatar and Swedish navigator Tina Thorner moved their BMW X3 into first overall with a fifth on the stage. Early leader Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (Spain and France) and their VW Toureg have dropped to third behind Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (South Africa and Germany), also in a Toureg, although Sainz is less than seven minutes behind the Qatari/Norwegian pair.

Join the conversation!