The 2015 edition of the Dakar Rally, the rigorous off-road rally raid organised by the Amaury Sports Organisation, has now reached the halfway mark. And there were a few surprises along the way during the sixth stage of the event.
While the battle in the motorcycle category had been primarily between Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort and KTM rider Marc Coma, stage wins along the way had fallen to various other competitors. And at the sixth stage of the event it was Helder Rodrigues who took a commanding victory. The rider climbed from 10th overall in the motorcycle category to sixth overall in the class. There were more surprises in the top 3 though, with Australian rider Toby Price runner up in the stage, followed by Honda rider Paulo Goncalves.
Joan Barreda Bort currently heads the motorcycle category of the 2015 Dakar Rally
Overall, the head of the standings still sees Joan Barreda Bort on top, with Marc Coma trailing him by 12 minutes. Third place in the motorcycle category currently falls to Goncalves.
Rafal Sonic leads the quad category from Ignacio Casale at the halfway mark of the 2015 Dakar Rally
The quad category has witnessed a battle between defending champion Ignacio Casale and Rafal Sonic. And while it is the Polish rider, Sonik, currently in the lead of the category after the halfway mark, Casale took a fine stage win, which has enabled him to regain eight minutes in the class. Third in the category after the sixth stage has been completed is Sergio Lafuente, albeit 40 minutes behind the pair.
Nasser Al-Attiyah in the Mini might lead the car category at the Dakar after six stages, but Giniel de Villiers is also looking strong
Over in the car category of the event, Nasser Al-Attiyah has been dominant at the head of the standings all through, with the Qatar Rally Team driver piloting a Mini, managing to run consistently. Al-Attiyah took a stage victory at Iquique, the event's sixth stage, notching his third stage win at the 2015 Dakar. Finishing second to him in the stage was Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers, with Mini driver Nani Roma third. Of course, the 2014 Dakar winner, Roma, is not able to challenge for the overall win this year, but is still trying hard for stage wins.
At the head of the overall standings in the car category it is still Al-Attiyah in command. His nearest rival is South Africa's de Villiers in his Toyota, eleven minutes adrift. With Yazeed Al-Rajhi also in a Toyota running third overall.
Kamaz all the way as Eduard Nikolaev leaps to the head of the standings in the truck category of the 2015 Dakar Rally
The truck category continues to see an impressive run from Eduard Nikolaev, who took his fourth win of six stages in the 2015 Dakar. He won the stage with more than five minutes over his team-mate Airat Mardeev, also in a Kamaz. Andrey Karginov had to settle for third place. The order at the head of the standings is the same as that of the stage win, with the Kamaz drivers occupying the top three positions.
Now the Dakar contingent gets a much needed rest day, before the seventh stage of the rally takes competitors from Iquique to Uyuni.
Photo credit: Shakedown Team