Mixed fortunes for Husqvarna Factory Racing on Dakar stage five

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has delivered a strong performance on a demanding stage five of the 2022 Dakar Rally to claim a 10th place finish. Continuing to put in strong, consistent stage results, the young Argentinian moves himself further up the rally standings to sit 18th overall with just one day to go ahead of the mid-race rest day. Showing great speed on the 341-kilometre special, Skyler Howes unfortunately suffered a crash towards the end of the stage. Although able to complete the special as the ninth fastest rider, he was then taken to hospital for medical checks. Sadly, the American rider will take no further part in the race.

Stage five of the Dakar challenged riders with 341 kilometres of mixed terrain and some extremely tricky navigation. Setting off fifth into the special, thanks to his solid result on Wednesday’s stage four, Luciano Benavides was immediately able to chase down and pass the two rivals ahead of him. With the pace high, the FR 450 Rally rider continued to push while also focusing on not making any small errors on the rocky tracks that made up the majority of the stage.

Improving his position as the stage went on, Luciano was able to successfully navigate through a particularly tricky section that caught out many of the other competitors. From there he entered the final section of rolling dunes and raced on towards the finish. Ultimately claiming 10th place, Benavides moves up to 18th in the provisional overall standings, just over one hour behind the race leader.

Skyler Howes had put in a superb performance on stage five, fighting his way through the field to post a time inside the top 10. However, a crash in the closing kilometres resulted in the American requiring medical checks at the local hospital. Although suffering no serious injuries, Skyler will play no further part in this year’s event.

Luciano Benavides: “I’ve finished stage five and it was a really tricky day on the whole with some difficult navigation and some small issues towards the end. I started in fifth position and soon managed to catch and pass the two Sherco riders in front. After that there were only two riders left in front of me, and with the sandstorm that blew up halfway through the special, it was difficult to make them out, so I think I did a good job of navigating through the stage. I’m really happy with how the rally is going so far, it is frustrating that I lost an hour on day one, but since then my pace and navigation have been good, so I’m pleased with my progress. I’ll give my best again tomorrow and then I can enjoy the rest day.”

2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 5 Provisional Classification

1. Danilo Petrucci (KTM) 3:23:46
2. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 3:23:48
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:23:51
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:25:18
5. Toby Price (KTM) 3:25:32
6. Mason Klein (KTM) 3:27:07

10. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:31:11

2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 5)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 19:01:50
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 19:04:19
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 19:07:49
4. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 19:09:51
5. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 19:17:17
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 19:18:45

18. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 20:06:06