Arequipa: On a day of a mixed bag when the rally turned upside down with many top contenders across bikes and cars losing their way, Oriol Mena continued his strong run to end Stage 3 in eighth position to be in contention for a good finish in the all-Peru Dakar Rally 2019.
The stage from Marcona to Arequipa turned out to be surprise for most top teams as everyone expected the stage to be 75 per-cent sand, but it turned out to be a heady mix of dunes, rocks, mountains, fesh-fesh and morning fog.
There was mixed fortunes for Hero MotoSports Team Rally as CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues both met with time setbacks during the course of the day.
JRod lost some time in the beginning of the stage and then at a tricky waypoint that made him and many others lose even more time. Santosh met with a few crashes, and lost time around the same waypoint. However, both fought their way through all this to make it to the finish line.
Oriol Mena, however, seemed to be doing a completely different stage altogether. He showed his class and skills to blaze through the stage in quick time, gaining a few positions in the process. The stage results placed Oriol Mena in the eighth place, JRod in 46th and CS Santosh in 64th. In the overall rankings, Mena climbed a few places from Wednesday to end at 12th position, while Joaquim Rodrigues was at 31st place and Santosh on 42nd.
On Friday the rally will move to the Marathon stage, where no assistance is allowed overnight and the competitors will be left to their own devices and faculties to manage their bikes and themselves.
“It was an extremely difficult stage, throwing a fair share of challenges. I had the wrong lens on for today’s stage and it set me up for the struggle for most of the first part. So, I decided to ride without my goggles, which was really difficult to do. Had a few crashes, lost my way around a waypoint, so in all a very tough day. I am glad to have seen the back of it and still be in the race. ”