Sebastien Loeb’s remarkable Dakar Rally debut continued on Stage 5 as he set a third fastest time, extending his overall lead in the process.

Stage 5 of the 2016 Dakar Rally was the most brutal yet. Though relatively short at 327km, the run from Jujuy across the Bolivian border to Uyuni climbed to more than 4,600m (15,000ft) above sea level, causing many competitors to suffer from altitude sickness.

The stage was the first to pose any real navigation challenges, too. But Loeb and navigator Elena’s inexperience proved not to be a hinderance, the pair finishing 22 seconds clear at the head of another Peugeot 1-2-3.

Carlos Sainz was second ahead of Stephane Peterhansel. Nasser Al-Attiyah could only manage fourth in his Mini and drops to the same position overall, handing Peugeot a podium lock-out. But there’s still a very long way to go and 14 minutes isn’t that much of a deficit on this event. A third win for the Qatari driver is far from out of the question yet.

Leeroy Poulter continues to head Toyota’s campaign, finishing the stage fifth ahead of ex-WRC man Mikko Hirvonen and a seemingly off-form Giniel de Villiers.

Expected front-runners Robby Gordon, Orlando Terranova and Nani Roma enjoyed their second day running in the top ten, all three having suffered various issues in the early stages.

Eugenio Amos currently leads the ATV drivers in his 1,000cc Polaris, lying 56th overall, just under five hours behind Loeb. Meanwhile, Tim Coronel is the best-placed solo driver in 78th in his Suzuki-powered buggy, eight hours off the lead. And a hat-tip to Ariel Jaton, who is keeping the electrically-powered Acciona going in 89th place, after a total of 24 hours of racing.

Toby Price became the first biker to take multiple stage wins on his KTM, while Paulo Goncalves holds onto the lead, despite losing time on the stage. Alexis Hernandez topped the timesheets on his Yamaha quad again and moves up to second overall behind Sergei Karyakin; early leader Ignacio Casale lost more than an hour on the stage with an engine issue. Eduard Nikolaev picked up a first stage win for the Russian Kamaz team, which usually sandbags for the first few days. New leader Federico Villagra – and everyone else between him and the lead Kamaz of Airat Mardeev – will have to work hard to maintain his position.

Stage 5 top ten finishers

  1. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — 3:32:34
  2. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +0:22
  3. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +3:00
  4. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Mini/Mini ALL4 Racing — +3:07
  5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +6:07
  6. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +7:42
  7. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +8:36
  8. Robby Gordon/Kellon Welch — Team Speed Energy/Gordini SC1 — +9:20
  9. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +10:15
  10. Nani Roma/Alex Haro Bravo — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +10:33

Dakar Rally top ten runners after 5 stages

  1. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — 13:17:25
  2. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +7:48
  3. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +13:26
  4. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Mini/Mini ALL4 Racing — +14:16
  5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +18:38
  6. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +21:55
  7. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +23:24
  8. Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul — Overdrive Toyota/Toyota Hilux — +31:00
  9. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov — G-Energy Team/Toyota Hilux — +33:27
  10. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Gottschalk — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +37:43

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By Only Motors