It was a tough day at the Merzouga Rally as many riders lost their way towards the end of the stage in an attempt to find a really tricky waypoint. Oriol started the stage well but just after a few kms, he had a hard impact to the bottom of the bike while come fast down a dune. After that he decided to take the rest of the stage in a slow and cautious manner.
Towards the end of the stage he lost some more time in trying to find that last waypoint, along with many other riders who got lost in the same area. His team mate, C S Santosh, was having a good stage, riding well through the dunes and the faster sections until he also got lost around the last waypoint and lost a lot of time before he could find the right way.
More importantly, both the bikes and riders arrived at the bivouac safely to reunite with the team, keeping the team’s campaign alive at the Merzouga Rally.
Oriol finished the stage 4 in 40th place, taking him to the overall standing of 17th, while Santosh finished the stage in 37th position, retaining his overnight ranking of 20th in the overall standings.
The second part of the Marathon stage was made of a 233 km long stage sandwiched between two liaison sections of 63 kms and 103 kms respectively. The riders first encountered the initial dunes sector that then led them to faster tracks just until they reached the Errachidia plateau where a labyrinth of tracks complicated the navigation.
The ultimate stage of the rally will be a motocross style start and offer 49 km of fast paced shoulder-to-shoulder action before the new champion is crowned.
Oriol Mena, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It was a difficult day today for me. I started very well but in the 4th km I hit something hidden in the dunes. After that I was not getting a comfortable feeling with the bike so I decided to take it slow from there to make it to the finish. Then I got lost towards the end trying to find a way point and lost a lot of time there. Another day in the books and only one more day to go. »
C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « I felt really good today and did well in the stage I think. I rode very well in the dunes and caught up with a lot of riders, so overall it was going good for me. Towards the end of the stage, we couldn’t find the waypoint. There were riders everywhere trying to find the way, it looked like everyone was lost. Finally I was able to find the right way and reached the finish line but lost a lot of time there. Happy to put 4 days in the book and now looking forward to closing the rally tomorrow. »
Provisional Results for the Stage 4
1. Alessandro Botturi, Yamaha Racing, 03h 23m 21s
2. Paulo Goncalves, Honda Racing, +03m 44s
3. Ricky Brabec, Honda Racing, +08m 32s…
37. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports, +01h 21m 38s…
40. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +01h 36m 27s…
Overall Provisional Results at the end of Stage 4
1. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda Racing,,13h 26m 49s
2. Toby Price, KTM Racing, +05m 02s
3. Kevin Benvides,Honda Racing, +06m 31s…
17. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +03h 01m 34s…
20. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports, +03h 42m 31s…