The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally camped itself in San Juan De Marcona for one more day of dunes and navigation. It turned out to be a very tough stage for the competitors with hidden way points and difficult terrain. Both the Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders pushed hard today to overcome this tough stage for the team.
Oriol Mena continued his fine form of yesterday to begin the stage well but lost some time in finding a waypoint in the later part of the stage. He finished the stage at 33 position, which now places him at 24 position in the overall rankings.
CS Santosh came out with a purpose and rode hard to cover a lot of positions today despite a nasty crash in the 2nd 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 100 kms with dunes of all sizes making up a total stage run of 444km including the special stage of 330 kms.
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 774 kms to be covered including the liaison.