2018-01-11 15:26
The 5th stage of the Dakar Rally kicked off from San Juan De Marcona to move to Arequipa, the rally’s last stop in Peru before the rally moves into Bolivia. Dakar debutant Oriol Mena of Hero MotoSports Team Rally looked like a man on a mission as he clocked in his best stage of the rally yet, finishing at 11th position, his second top-15 stage finish. Overall, Mena now stands at the 21st position at the end of stage 5.

CS Santosh decided to play it safe and steady as the rally nears the half way mark to finish the stage at 52nd position. Today’s performance also helped him gain 5 ranks from overnight, taking him to the overall ranking of 51st at the end of stage 5.

In the 5th stage, the organizers separated the route for the Quads/Bikes and Cars/Trucks. The trucks and the cars, therefore, were the first to discover the stage, even before their riders, as they made their way through the sands of Tanaka, traversing through 30 km or so of mountain dunes. It was a long road to Arequipa for everyone with 508 km liaison section, the longest yet of Dakar 2018 and 226 km of specials making up for the total 774 kms of Stage 5.

The next stage will see the rally change countries to enter into Bolivia making its first halt at La Paz - the world’s highest capital city. The rally will move a gear up to become faster as it leaves the sands behind to tackle the Bolivian Altiplano at the altitude of 2500m and above.

Oriol Mena (Comp No: 61) said: “It was probably one of the toughest stage of the Dakar 2018 and new experience for me. I am really happy to finish well without any major mistakes. The first part was yesterday’s stage in reverse with a lot of navigation involved. Tracks from yesterday and today, made it even worse for the navigation. The last 53 km was made of extremely soft sands and there were cars and trucks stranded everywhere, but I managed that section well. Now we have about 450 kms to make it to the Bivouac at Arequipa and it will be another day in the bag.”

C.S Santosh (Comp No: 49) said: “It was a really hard day. I was feeling a bit tired in the morning as I didn’t have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. The stage was tough, especially the last 50 km or so. The dunes were really churned up and the sand was incredibly soft. It took everything that I had and the machine had to make it through today. One more day to go before the much deserved rest day¬¬! ”

Source: MG communication

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