Giniel de Villiers wins Dakar Stage 5

South African Giniel de Villiers scored his first stage win of the 2009 Dakar Rally and moved into second place overall after Stage 5 on Wednesday.

In the longest special of the rally so far — 506 kilometers from Neuquen to San Rafael in Chile — de Villiers mastered the sand dunes to reach the finish line in 5 hours, 47 minutes.

Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon finished third and moved to seventh overall, 41 minutes, 48 seconds behind Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who led the rally entering Stage 5, lost more than 15 minutes after steering problems hampered his driving. He dropped to third place overall.

Al-Attiyah, who won Stages 1 and 3, now leads de Villiers by 2 minutes, 24 seconds in the overall standings.

Yvan Muller, competing in a single-seater SMG buggy, was forced out of the event after his car caught fire following a collision with the truck of Elisabete Jacinto. No one was injured.

After 14 stages covering the 9,574-kilometer (5,950-mile) circuit, the race will finish on Jan. 18 in Buenos Aires.

Thursday's route is a 395-kilometer drive from San Rafael to Mendoza.

The Dakar Rally is being broadcast on Versus, with daily updates on RobbyGordon.com.

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