Hero Motosports Team Rally riders, Joaquim Rodrigues and C.S. Santosh enjoyed yet another consistent day on the seventh stage following the rest day in La Paz in the 2017 Dakar even as the original course underwent drastic changes.
Rains in Bolivia continued to play havoc with the Dakar this year, forcing the organisers to drastically alter the seventh stage of the rally.
The original 322 km of marathon special between La Paz and Uyuni was rearranged by combining sections of the cancelled sixth stage and parts of the original seventh special for a reduced distance of 161 km, which was sandwiched between an opening liaison of 400 km and a closing road section of 240 km.
Rodrigues, who was placed in 11th position after six stages, was among the lead pack of riders to enter the seventh special. But being a marathon stage with no access to assistance at the end of the day, Rodrigues chose to ride with caution to conserve the bike for the second part of the marathon from Uyuni to Salta. The Portuguese rider completed the timed section in 2 hour 19 minutes 46 seconds to finish the day in 20th position in the stage seven classifications. However, in the provisional overall general classifications, Rodrigues still retains his 11th place, 1 hour 23 minutes 18 seconds behind the leader.
“I made some mistakes with my roadbook while doing the corrections. I just had to follow the lines from the other guys. Once in the dunes, I navigated really well and I didn’t get lost. There was a little bit of pressure in the dunes, but nothing major. After that I just took it easy to the end. I am happy to bring the bike back to the marathon bivouac in good shape for tomorrow’s stage,