Luciano Benavides successfully completes Dakar Rally stage five

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has completed the 645-kilometre stage five of Dakar 2024, posting the ninth-quickest time. Unfortunately, after suffering a technical issue with his FR 450 Rally in the final five kilometres of the timed special, the Argentinian received a 15-minute penalty for a required engine change, which has dropped him down the overall standings.

Venturing into the dunes of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, a relatively short 118-kilometre special was welcomed by competitors. However, riders initially had to cover an exhausting 508 kilometres of liaison from Al Hofuf to Shubaytah before taking to the timed section of the stage.

Benavides’ pace was impressive for much of the special, with the 28-year-old well in the fight for a top-five stage result. A technical issue forced him to slow in the last few kilometres, ultimately dropping him to ninth place as he crossed the finish line. Due to this issue, the team have been left with no option but to change his engine at service, which has incurred a 15-minute penalty.

Tomorrow, the starting order for the 48-hour Chrono stage will be reversed for the Rally GP class. And with today’s stage result not being affected by his penalty, Benavides will provisionally be the ninth rider to set off into Thursday’s special. With two of the longest days of the event ahead of him, Luciano is fired-up to attack the challenging stage and regain some time on his rivals.

Luciano Benavides: “It wasn’t a great day for me. I felt good in the dunes as that is the sort of terrain that I like, I was pushing hard and was in second or third place for a while. Unfortunately, I then had some technical issues in the last five kilometres of the special, so I lost some time there. I managed to get to the end but overall it hasn’t been an ideal day.”

Andreas Hölzl – Rally Team Manager: “Luciano started well and was riding really good. His pace was great and he wasn’t far from the top guys. Unfortunately, a technical issue with his bike meant that we had to change the engine and in doing so, he’ll receive a 15-minute penalty on his overall classification. It’s Dakar, and you never know what will happen so he is still in the game but it’s definitely not what we wanted.”

2024 Dakar Rally – Stage 5 Provisional Classification

1. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 1:32:53
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 1:33:30
3. Toby Price (KTM) 1:34:32
4. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 1:35:51
5. Mason Klein (KOVE) 1:35:54

9. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 1:37:15

2024 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 5]

1. Ross Branch (Hero) 19:05:03
2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 19:06:17
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 19:08:50
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 19:23:13
5. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 19:26:20

11. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 19:50:39