The day at Dakar: Rhythm needed and Giniel de Villiers sure found his
© Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
A punishing day of rock-filled wadis, deep valleys and more dunes made for a day of hellish navigation and the toughest day of the Dakar Rally yet. Only the savvy stayed on track and rose to the top.
There's no question, by Stage 5 of the Dakar Rally you're in the 'rhythm of the rally'. You'll hear this phrase often at the event and there's the some truth behind the vague statement.
Maybe we can explain the rhythm of the rally in a phrase you might be more familiar with: same sand, different day. There's a schedule at the rally, even if it seems like nothing is ever running on it. In fact, if you're in an event vehicle it’s a very precise schedule, with timings down to the second. For instance, your departure from the bivouac might be scheduled for 5:17:20am and you certainly won't be leaving the bivouac any earlier – although when it comes to the time you're planned to be back, well, it's expected you'll be late.
Catch up with all the action from a seriously tough Stage 5 below in our Dakar Daily episode:
Dakar Daily – Stage 5
In the Lightweight Vehicles class, Seth Quintero notched third place for his second podium finish, but the victor again was Chaleco López. In the Bikes meanwhile, Toby Price impressed all with a late surge to take third on the stage, moving him within striking distance of the top three – and he’s surely happy to have picked up the pace.
There’s a few people who weren't late – our stage winners. In the Car class, it was a win for South African driver Giniel De Villiers after a trouble-free run in very tricky navigation. In the Truck class, KAMAZ-Master won again, although this time it was Andrey Karginov for the boys in blue.
Back to the rhythm. Your 'rally rhythm' is probably determined by what you're doing at the rally. For example, let's say you're a mechanic. You'll wake up early to help get the drivers on their way and then you’ll probably get on the road yourself to meet them at the next bivouac. Or, maybe you've finished setting up the car the day before and you're already on the road the night before, because of a long liaison.
If you're in catering, you’re part of one of the two crews that leapfrog each other over the course of the rally – one bivouac is operating while the other is being broken down or set up. That's an interesting aspect about the rally, every piece of critical infrastructure is doubled. Generators, tents, control trucks – there's two of each. This lets the rally move faster and further each day.
Photographers on the special stages have one of the toughest jobs. They've got to hunt down the action, which happens early and usually in the middle of nowhere. They'll often head out to sleep near the track the night before, based on loose knowledge of where things are going to be happening. They'll get the actual route in the morning, enter the stage, shoot until they see the last vehicle and then rush back to the bivvy to send those photos – then probably head out to sleep somewhere close to the special stage again.
So. Day 5. Not Wednesday, not Thursday. By now, you've begun to forget which day of the week it is, because does it really matter, anyway? For these two weeks of your life, you're on a ride you can't – and don’t want to – ditch. Better roll with it. Find your rally routine and plough on.