[Stage 5} Sam Sunderland demonstrated his navigational skills to win in Oruro, taking advantage of his rivals’ problems, on a special that was shortened to 219 kilometres due to poor weather.
The Brit has been consistent since the start of the rally and was biding his time to make the perfect strike.
He brilliantly achieved his goal this Friday, with his second special stage victory on the Dakar that was also synonymous with taking command of the general standings.
The Englishman was the only rider to not get lost in the Bolivian dunes, unlike Pablo Quintanilla, Xavier de Soultrait, Matthias Walkner or Joan Barreda, who all lost a lot of ground.
The weather was so bad stage 6 had to be cancelled.
Riders are now enjoying their first ‘official’ rest day before the first marathon stage, where riders camp overnight without any team help.
For riders like Aussie Matt Hart, this means riding with mechanical sympathy:
Hart is currently in 63rd position overall while fellow Australian Todd Smith is in an impressive 15th place.
This news comes after the fourth-stage withdrawal of title holder Toby Price, who suffered a broken femur in four places after a high speed fall.
His team-mate Matthias Walkner deputised ably by grabbing victory from the hands of Joan Barreda, the race leader at the time.
Barreda was later penalised one-hour for re-fuelling in a non-designated area, after making a navigational error.