Every time the Dakar Rally
hits the Bolivian leg, there are always chances of the weather and climate
playing the spoilsport. Staying true to that tradition, the first part of the
6th stage of the Dakar Rally from Arequipa to La Paz had to be cancelled owing
to bad weather and foggy conditions for the riders. The revised 6th stage was
limited only to a 194 km of timed section, from the original planned stage of
313 km but not before the riders tackled everything from snow, freezing
temperature and rain; all this at an altitude of 4800 m.
Provisional Stage 6
1. Meo Antoine RedBull KTM
Factory Racing KTM +1h 54m
2. Kevin Benavides Honda Factory Racing Honda +30s
3. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Racing KTM +30s
23. Oriol Mena Hero
Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +7m 51s
38. C.S. Santosh Hero
Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +14m 57s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 6
1. Kevin Benavides Honda Factory Racing Honda 16h 33m 20s
2. Adrien Van Beveren Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +01m
3. Matthias Walkner RedBull KTM Factory Racing KTM +02m
21. Oriol Mena Hero
Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +01 14m 07s
51. C.S. Santosh Hero
Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +04h 52m 00s
Both riders from Hero
MotoSports Team Rally decided to be safe and cautious with an aim to
successfully complete the 1st half of the Dakar Rally without any unwanted
incident. Oriol Mena continued his solid run from the previous day to finish
the stage at 23rd position, and an overall 21st place. CS Santosh continued his
resurgence in the rankings, despite a troubled ankle owing to an earlier crash.
He finished the stage at 38th position and overall 51st place at the end of the
first half of the Dakar Rally.
To summarise the first half
for Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it was an excellent start for the team with two
very good stages from CS Santosh, followed by a couple of difficult ones, and a
very positive progress of Dakar rookie Mena, especially in the really tough
stage 5. All in all, a good Dakar so far as the team has been able to fight off
all that the Dakar has thrown at them so far and stands strong at the half way
As the competitors rolled into
the cold and rainy La Paz podium, the cheer and warmth of the thousands of
people who thronged the podium area braving the bad weather, gave them a true
Heroes’ welcome. The competitors now get a much deserved rest day on 12th
January, to rest their tired and bruised bodies and minds before the second leg
of the rally kicks off.
The next stage will move the
rally from La Paz on 13th January for its 1st marathon stage of 425 km to
Uyuni. As per the regulations, the riders will not be able to receive any assistance
from the crew at their overnight halt at Uyuni and will be on their own.
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 61) said:
“Today was a difficult day due to rain so I decided to take it safe. I have my
mind focused on making to the finish line at Cordoba so I did not want to
commit any mistakes just before the halfway mark. Today I decided to trade off
safety for speed but it doesn’t matter, as there is still a long way to go into
the rally. We rest tomorrow before we start the party again day after!”
C.S Santosh (Comp No: 49)
said: “Bolivia has always been the turning point in the Dakar. It was really a
cold start in the morning and a very long liaison, and then it started raining
making things worse. We didn’t have dust today so I knew it was my best chance
to pass a few guys and I tried to make the most of the opportunity. Overall, a
good day and I brought the bike home. Now we rest for one day and then get
ready for the final leg of the Dakar”
Source: Hero MotoSports Rally Team
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