Polish Krzysztof Holowczyc competes during the fifth stage of Dakar 2012 between Chilecito and Fiambala, Argentina, 05 January 2012. [Photo: CFP]
Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc (Mini) won the fifth stage of the Rally Dakar 2012 in autos, and his team colleague Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel kept the first place of the leaderboard.
Holowczyc sorted out the Argentinean dunes of Fiambala, in the Catamarca province, with a total time of two hours, 10 minutes and 51 seconds. It was a special stage of 177 kilometers long.
After Holowcyc arrived the American driver Robby Gordon (Hummer), one minute and one second later, and then Peterhansel, three minutes and 52 seconds after the leader.
Also came Spanish driver Joan "Nani" de Roma (Mini) 7:47 minutes later, and Russan Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) 8:18 minutes later.
On the general chart, after five of a total of 14 stages, Peterhansel has a total time of 11 hours, 58 minutes and three seconds, followed by Holowczyc, at 4:18 minutes; de Roma, at 10:39; de Gordon, at 13:32, and South African pilot Giniell de Villiers (Toyota), at 21:01.
Last year's champion, Qatari pilot Nasser Al-Attiyah (Hummer) had to stop after suffering a problem with the cooling system of his car and is in 8th place at 50 minutes and 37 seconds after the leader.
Meanwhile, Dutch driver Gerard de Rooy (Iveco) won the 5th stage on trucks and kept his advantage as leader on the general time chart.
On the time trial of the stage of 177 kilometers between Chilecito (in the province of La Rioja) and Fiambala (Catamarca), in Argentinean territory, the leader had the best time with two hours, 34 minutes and 30 seconds. He also won his third stage out of five.
Czech driver Ales Loprais (Tatra) arrived just 14 seconds later. On third was Italian driver Miki Biasion (Iveco) at 1:19 minutes later.
On the general time chart, De Rooy has an advantage of 4:21 minutes over his countryman, Hans Stacey (Iveco); 4:25 minutes over Biasion; 13:11 minutes over Loprais; 22:26 minutes over Russian Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) and 27:38 minutes over Kazakh Artur Ardavichius.
Meanwhile, on the quatricycles category, 2010 Dakar Rally champion, Argentinean pilot Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha) won the fifth stage with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes and 37 seconds (02:58:37) after traveling 265 kilometers on a special stage on the dunes of Fiambala, on the Catamarca Province, and was followed by his brother Alejandro, Champion of 2011, just 1:51 minutes later.
On third it was another Argentinian, Tomas Maffei (Yamaha) at 4:08 minutes after Marcos Patronelli.
Maffei is the general time leader with a total time of 17:51:27, followed by Alejandro Patronelli, 35 seconds later, and Marcos Patronelli, 2:02 minutes later.
The Dakar Rally 2012, that began last Sunday in Mar del Plata, Argentina, will have 14 stages, with five each in Argentina and Chile and another four in Peru. The race will end in Lima.