Editorial Raid

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Africa Eco Race 2019

Dakar SS5: O. Mena, J. Rodrigues post gritty performances

- C.S. Santosh exits Dakar 2019 due to an unfortunate crash
The stage 5 of Dakar 2019 turned out to be an extremely tough and dangerous day for the competitors claiming its fair share of casualties.

For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it was an emotional day as the news of crashes kept coming out from the stage. The first casualty for the team came in the form of rider C S Santosh, who suffered a nasty crash between the waypoint 4 and 5, rendering him incapable of pursuing the stage further. This unfortunate crash brought a premature end to his attempt to conquer a record 5th Dakar by an Indian. His condition is stable and he is currently being attended to by the medical team at a hospital in Tacna.

Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues also had a rough day out with both crashing once in the stage. Oriol Mena’s crash was quite bad as he lost his bearings for some time after the crash, but miraculously made it to the finish line.

Their hard work, grit and perseverance was rewarded with good finishes today that places both of them in a good spot for the stage 6. JRod made good of the rhythm he struck today, to gain some positions, finishing the stage in 18th place. Oriol Mena, despite losing some time due to the crash, finished the stage in the 16th place. Overall, after stage 5, Mena managed to retain his overnight position of 12th and JRod climbed up 3 positions to break into top 30 with a 28th position in the overall rankings.
Today’s stage was quite fast with all the riders going flat out in waves of 10 in a motocross style start. The presence of fesh-fesh severely impaired the visibility for the riders coming at the back, and stones hidden away in the course of the route made it even more dangerous. Later part of the stage action saw nearly unsurmountable dunes compounding the difficulty levels for the riders.
Tomorrow the rally proceedings will come to a halt for half a day, giving some respite to the competitors, teams and the organization to replenish their energies and take a stock of their performances thus far.
The rally will hit the road again tomorrow in the evening for a semi-marathon stage where the riders will camp at a separate bivouac than the assistance teams for the night. From 13th January onwards, the rally will start backtracking the route back to Lima with stage 6 taking them back to the dusty San Juan De Marcona.
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 7): "The beginning was really nice and easy with comfortable riding. But then at around 268km I think I hit a stone and had a massive crash. But it’s the Dakar and these things happen. Most important this is that I am ok and happy to be back with the team. Really sad to hear about Santosh crashing out. Important thing is that he is ok and I wish him a speedy recovery."
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No: 27): "It was an extremely tough and dangerous stage today with a lot of fesh-fesh and hidden away stones. With everyone going full out all the time, it made visibility very poor for the guys riding at the back. The dunes were also very difficult to cross. One of them was so big that I had to go up and down a few times to gain enough momentum and even then I barely made it to the top. I also crashed twice and hurt my shoulder a bit but managed to pick my bike up and ride it to the finish line. It was a rough day today but the good thing is that we are still in the race and that’s all that matters. I am really sorry about Santosh’s crash, it was just one of those stages where keeping yourself safe was a full task in itself. I am glad to know that he is ok and wish him a fast recovery."
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager: "It was quite a difficult day for us with the news of various crashes coming out from the stage. Santosh had a nasty crash and he couldn’t continue. It is quite sad because he was probably riding his best Dakar yet. At the same time we are happy that he is doing ok and currently getting the best medical care possible. Mena and JRod too had scary crashes but we are quite happy that both of them somehow made it back to us. We would like to thank all our fans and supporters for the kind wishes they have been sending for the safety of our riders."
Provisional Stage 5 Results
1. Sam Sunderland, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, 04h 11m 48s
2. Xavier De Soultriat, Yamaha Factor Racing, Yamaha, +03m 23s
3. Lorenzo Santolino, TVS Sherco Racing, TVS Sherco, +04m 00s...
16. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +12m 59s...
18. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +13m 48s...
DNF C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports
Provisional Overall Results after Stage 5
1. Ricky Brabec, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, 16h 51m 34s
2. Sam Sunderland, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +59s
3. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Factory Racing, Husqvarna, +02m 52s...
12. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +41m 30s...
28. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +02h 37m 53s...
DNF C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports
Press Release,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

Actus Raid - Dakar