Dakar SS4: Hero MotoSports Team riders fight off a tough stage

CS Santosh © DR

– CS gains over 40 positions to move up the rankings

The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally camped itself in San Juan De Marcona for one more day of dunes and navigation. It turned out to be a very tough stage for the competitors with hidden way points and difficult terrain. Both the Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders pushed hard today to overcome this tough stage for the team.

Oriol Mena continued his fine form of yesterday to begin the stage well with but lost some time in finding a waypoint in the later part of the stage. He finished the stage at 33 position, which now places him at 24 position in the overall rankings.

CS Santosh came out with a purpose and rode hard to cover a lot of positions today despite a nasty crash in the 2nd half of the stage. He gained over 40 positions on his overnight ranking of 98, to finish the stage and overall at 56th place.

The stage, offered a changed landscape and a different kind of start to break the mould. It started on the beach front in a mass start format with 15 bikes per set. After this sprint along the beach, the competitors were challenged to tackle one of the longest sandy section ever in the history of the Dakar, a total of 100 kms with dunes of all sizes making up a total stage run of 444km including the special stage of 330 kms.

Next stage will see the rally moving to Arequipa where competitors will tackle the sands of Tanaka and a 30 or so km of mountain dune sections making up the longest stage yet, with 774 kms to be covered including the liaison.

Oriol Mena (Comp #61): « It was a tough stage. I lost out on one waypoint and lost nearly 20 min to find that. Finally I am here back at the bivouac which is important thing and tomorrow will be another day. »

C.S Santosh (Comp #49): « Today we started the stage on the beach. I knew it was going to be a tough day because I was starting with a lot of riders in front of me. I tried to push myself hard and did all I could and so I managed to cross a lot of riders. Dune section was really long and difficult but I managed that well. Towards the end I had a massive crash because of a rock hidden inside fesh-fesh, but I am ok and the bike is ok so we live to fight another day. »

Provisional Stage 4 Classifications
1. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, 04h 08m 23s
2. Xavier De Soutrait, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, +05m 01s
3. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +07m 10s    
33. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +40m 55s
56. C.S. Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01h 20m 40s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 4
1. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, 11h 03m 23s
2. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Factory Racing, Husqvarna, +01m 55s
3. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +03m 15s    
24. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01 00m 46s
56. C.S. Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +03h 27m 31s…

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