PUNE: Spanish Dakar debutant rode a terrific Stage 10 after a day’s forced rest following the cancellation of Stage 9 and steered Hero Motosports to an amazing fourth place finish as the Dakar Rally 2018 moved into the town of Belen in Argentina on Tuesday.
Mena, who was placed 18th at the end of the eighth stage, propelled himself to No 14th place and within range of breaking into top 10 if he continues to ride the way he did on Tuesday.
Following the overnight halt at Salta, the Stage proved to be one the toughest stages of this Dakar, but Hero MotoSports Team Rally put another stage in the books with both their riders back at the bivouac.
Showing gritty performance and flawless navigation during the course of the Stage, Mena was aggressive from the beginning and finished the Stage in a very commendable position--his best Dakar Stage finish yet!
He also stopped and called for rescue for a fellow rider, who crashed in front of him, displaying excellent sportsman’s spirit.
“I had to stop to help Luciano Benavides, who had a really bad crash just about 20 km before the end of first part. Unfortunately he is out of the race and my best wishes for him, but this is how the Dakar is,” he said.
Mena’s teammate CS Santosh started the stage quite well until he suffered a crash in the second half of the stage that knocked him out for a short while. However, with a quick intervention from the Team, Santosh managed to finish the difficult stage at the 44th position, which puts him at the 40th position overall at the end of Stage 10.
“I took a big jump, landed on some rocks and had a big crash. It was very difficult from then on and somehow I made it to the end of the first special. I met the Team there and we were able to quickly fix the bike and I got going again to finish the stage.
Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally was the first full stage in Argentina with a total run of 797 km out of which 373 kms were allocated to the special stage and an initial long liaison of 424 kms. Meant to be a day of navigation contest, it however soon turned into day filled with lot of unfavorable developments with crashes, exits and riders getting lost through the day.
The competitors will get only a few hours to shrug off the events of the Stage and regain their composure for Stage 11, which is going to be the second Marathon Stage.
TVS’S GARCIA FINISHES 10TH
Meanwhile, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team’s Juan Pedrero Garcia finished the stage in 10th position
Garcia was in top form during the stage and now stands at 17th position in the overall rankings.
“Joan had a good outing today. He rode smartly and brought the bike back in very good condition. Tonight, the mechanics will carry out a complete overhaul of the engine, because tomorrow is the first day of a marathon stage.” said David Casteu, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team manager.
Stage 8 Classifications: 1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4h 52m 26s; 2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +11m 35s; 3. Gerard Farres Guell (Himoinsa Racing) +16m 21s, 4. Oriol Mena (Hero Motosports Team Rally) +20m 45s…10. Juan Pedrero Garcia (Sherco TVS Rally Factory) +36m 24s…44. CS Santosh (Hero Motosports Team Rally) +01h 53m 15s.
Overall: 1. Walkner 32h 21m 03s; 2. Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) +39m 42s; 3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) +41m 23s…14. Mena +01h 57m 08s…17. Garcia +02h 25m 18s…39. Santosh +09h 06m 02s.