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Dakar Rally: Santosh gains over 40 positions, Mena placed 24th

Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France drive their Peugeot at the Dakar Rally. Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI San Juan de Marcona, Ica, Peru Jan 10, 2018, 05.31 AM (IST)

Navigating a tough stage involving hidden way points and a difficult terrain, Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders C S Santosh overcame a crash to gain over 40 places while Oriol Mena was ranked 24th overall in the Dakar Rally.

The fourth stage of the rally camped itself in San Juan De Marcona for one more day of dunes and navigation.

It turned out to be a tough stage for the competitors with hidden way points and difficult terrain.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally's debutant Oriol Mena continued Tuesday's fine form to begin the stage well but lost some time in finding a way point in the later part of the stage. He finished the stage at 33 position, which placed him at 24 position in the overall rankings.

C S Santosh came out with purpose and rode hard to cover a lot of positions despite a nasty crash in the second half of the stage. He gained over 40 positions on his overnight ranking of 98, to finish the stage and overall at 56th place.

The stage offered a changed landscape and a different kind of start to break the mould. It started on the beach front in a mass start format with 15 bikes per set.

After this sprint along the beach, the competitors were challenged to tackle one of the longest sandy section ever in the history of the Dakar - a total of 100km with dunes of all sizes making up a total stage run of 444km including the special stage of 330 kms.

The next stage will see the rally moving to Arequipa where competitors will tackle the sands of Tanaka and a 30 or so km of mountain dune sections making up the longest stage yet, with 774km to be covered including the liaison.

Oriol Mena said, "It was a tough stage. I lost out on one waypoint and lost nearly 20 min to find that. Finally I am here back at the bivouac which is important thing and tomorrow will be another day."

Santosh said, "Today we started the stage on the beach. I knew it was going to be a tough day because I was starting with a lot of riders in front of me. I tried to push myself hard and did all I could and so I managed to cross a lot of riders.

"Dune section was really long and difficult but I managed that well. Towards the end I had a massive crash because of a rock hidden inside fesh-fesh, but I am ok and the bike is ok so we live to fight another day."