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Argentinian Nicolas Cavigliasso won today’s stage and leads the overall in the quad category. Double success also for the former WRC driver Conrad Rautenbach: stage victory and leadership in the SxS (SidebySide).
Superb victory for rookie Oriol Mena by only a few seconds on the Pro Botturi and De Soultrait 
Xavier de Soultrait leads for Yamaha the overall bike classification, while Conrad Rautenbach wins the stage and leads the general standing in the SxS category. Double success for Cavigliasso in the quad. 
With one stage to go #31 Giemza #201 Gounon-Michel are the leaders of the Dakar Challenge in the bike and Sxs category 
The Afriquia Merzouga rally has hosted the appointment of the Dakar Tour 2018 in Morocco.
STAGE 5 Marathon bivouac – Erfoud Liaison 0Km SS5 206 km Liaison 0km
It was a demanding stage for the competitors who tackled 206 km of stage after having spent one night in the marathon bivouac with the complication of the sand storm. The stage featured a varied terrain with small dunes, sandy paths and rocky tracks. The competitors appreciated a lot both the challenge and the superb landscapes. 
It was a long and demanding stage, but also a great satisfaction especially for the Spanish Oriol Mena (#32), rider enrolled in the Dakar challenge, who won the provisional standing by only 7 seconds in front of Alessandro Botturi (Boars Racing) and 26 seconds on De Soultrait (Yamaha). Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) and Metge (Sherco TVS) complete the top5 at +1’07 and ‘2’44 respectively. 

“I’m so happy and surprised of this incredible result”,

said the 30 year old Spaniard Oriol Mena,

“I took the start in 23rd position this morning and I rode with a good pace. I focused on the navigation, but I could benefit of the traces of the front group. I am really satisfied. The other day I finished 6th, today first! For me the rally world is a new adventure. I’d like to thank my sponsors and the Team Pedrega”. 

“I’m ready for the GP of Dunes of tomorrow. Together with Caimi, we will compete as a team with the target to win the rally”,

said Xavier De Soultrait, leader of the overall with 12’43 advantage on Gerard Farres (Himoinsa), 21’56 on his team mate Caimi, and 38’10 on Pedrero (Sherco TVS) who hasn’t recovered yet from the shoulder injury he suffered, crashing during a training session one week before the start of the rally. Italian Alessandro Botturi completes the top5, 38’25 from the lead. 
A race in the race. The Czech #31 Giemza leads the Dakar Challenge bike with 13’10 of advantage on Mena Oriol and Maikel Smits (+52’25). #201 Gounon-Michel is the leader of the SxS Dakar Challenge, 2nd Lascorz-Brugue ( +45’24), 3rd Vialle – Roissac (+3h39.09).

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