Arequipa: Indian driver C S Santosh, racing for Hero MotoSports Team, gained five positions to be 51st overall after the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally, which will now move into Bolivia.
Santosh decided to play it safe and steady as the rally neared the halfway mark to finish the stage at 52nd position.
“It was a really hard day. I was feeling a bit tired in the morning as I didn’t have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. The stage was tough, especially the last 50km or so,” Santosh said.
“The dunes were really churned up and the sand was incredibly soft. It took everything that I had and the machine had to make it through today. One more day to go before the much deserved rest day,” he added.
Dakar debutant Oriol Mena, also competing for Hero MotoSports Team, finished 11th, his second top-15 stage finish. Overall, Mena now stands at the 21st position at the end of stage 5.
In the 5th stage, the organisers separated the route for the Quads/Bikes and Cars/Trucks. The trucks and the cars, therefore, were the first to discover the stage, even before their riders, as they made their way through the sands of Tanaka, traversing through 30km or so of mountain dunes.
The next stage will see the rally change countries to enter into Bolivia making its first halt at La Paz – the world’s highest capital city.
The rally will move a gear up to become faster as it leaves the sands behind to tackle the Bolivian Altiplano at the altitude of 2500m and above.