Bolivia, 14 Jan 2018: CS Santosh, the only Indian remaining in the Dakar Rally this year, continued his exploits and made a steady progress overcoming a challenging marathon run to end the first stage of Leg 2, Stage 8 in 38th position, which places him at an overall 42nd position. The other Indian KP Aravind ended his campaign after a nasty fall.
Having spent a night at Uyuni without assistance, the competitors started the leg 2 of the Marathon stage from Uyuni to Tupiza on Sunday, the 14th morning for the longest stage of the Dakar Rally.
Santosh of Hero MotoSports Team Rally, too has been gaining good ground lately and continued his steady run today as well. His teammater, Oriol Mena has been consistently delivering under top 20 performances for the past few stages and today was no different as finished today’s special at 12th position. Today’s performance helped Mena in defending his top 20 ranking and grabbing up the 18th spot overall.
The riders had to make a total run of 498 km on Sunday’s special stage followed by an 87-km liaison section. This stage offers the challenge of a tough high altitude riding in the mountain sand dunes at 3500 m above sea level.
Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally has been cancelled due to excessive rains the region has witnessed over the last few days. Overflowing rivers are expected to pose grave dangers to the competitors and hence the organizers decided to call off the stage.
However the riders and the rally will still need to cross the borders to move into Argentina on to their next bivouac at Salta, while covering the longest liaison section of the Dakar.
C.S Santosh, who rides with a competition Number 49, said: “I think this Marathon stage was the hardest I have ever done. It was incredibly difficult as we did 80 km off-piste and the camel grass. I was physically drained with the high altitude riding and also crashed a couple of times. By the time I reached the marathon bivouac I had nothing left in me. This morning we had the longest stage of the Dakar which was tough again. Happy to be back here with the team, I missed these guys. Now we got a lucky break tomorrow and then we go racing all the way to Cordoba”
Provisional Stage 8 Classifications: 1. Antoine Meo, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, 5h 24m 01s 2. Ricky Brabec, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +01m 08s 3. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +02m 45s 12. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +16m 57s 38. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +06h 31m 43s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 8: 1. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing,Yamaha,27h 22m 03s 2. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +00m 22s 3. Mathias Walkner, Redbull KTM Racing, KTM, +06m 34s 18. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01h 42m 57s 42. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +07h 19m 21s.
eom/Hero MotoSports press release