After the much deserved rest day at La Paz, the Dakar Rally went on the road again with the first Marathon stage kicking off from La Paz to Uyuni. A change in software was required for the riders as the landscape changed from sandy dunes to lot of off-pist, river beds and harder ground and the stages become longer and faster from here on.
For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, both the riders tackled the stage with a steady head and arrived at the Uyuni bivouac safely, though deprived of any assistance from the team for this overnight halt as per the regulations of the Marathon stage. Oriol Mena had another good stage as he finished the stage at 17 position, allowing him to break into top 20 rankings. Santosh also had a good day, finishing today’s stage at 39th position and an overall ranking of 40 at the end of stage 7.
Another good news for the Hero MotoSports Team Rally fans is that Joaquim Rodrigues arrived in Portugal safely and is now recuperating well.
Stage 8 will see the rally move through to Tupiza for the 2nd leg of the Marathon Stage, which will test the riders with the longest special stage of the rally, covering nearly 500 kms, including a high altitude dune crossing. Tupiza will be the last halt for the rally in Bolivia before changing the borders again and crossing over to Argentina.
Provisional Stage 7 Classifications
1. Joan Bort Barreda, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, 5h 11m 10s
2. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, +02m 51s
3. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +08m 02s
17. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +25m 25s
39. C.S. Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01h 33m 11s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 7
1. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, 21h 49m 18s
2. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +03m 14s
3. Joan Bort Barreda, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +04m 45s
20. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01h 34m 44s
46. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +06h 20m 23s