Bad luck befell Hero MotoSports’ CS Santosh as he ran out of fuel while Sherco TVS’ Aravind KP finished the stage in 29th place
The third stage of Dakar started from the small town of Pisco and culminated at San Juan de Marcona, Peru. The 296km stage ran through the Ica desert, which had the contenders tackling sand dunes and dust.
Hero MotoSports had a mixed result at the end of stage 3. Indian Hero factory rider CS Santosh ran out of fuel 30 kilometres before the finish line, thanks to a loosely fitted fuel cap. This cost him dearly as he crossed the finish line in 101th position, which dropped his overall ranking to 56th place from 28th in stage 2.
At the end of the stage CS Santosh said, “I started with a good rhythm today, then went on with the flow in the 2nd part of the stage. I had no issues with the navigation as well. Unlucky for me, the rear tank cap was not closed properly after re-fuelling and I lost my rear tank fuel before I realized it. Finally, I ran out of fuel 30 km short of the finish and had to wait and ask for fuel from some of the slower riders coming at the back. In the process I lost over an hour’s time today. It was not the best day, but I take the positive that I am still in the race and that’s what counts.”
Santosh’s Hero teammate Oriol Mena, who is on his Dakar debut, had a good run, breaking into the top 20 riders and finishing the stage in 12th place. 50 kilometres into stage three, Oriol stopped to help unconscious rider no. 17, Armand Monleon, who crashed in front of him. This cost Oriol a few minutes but he got a time refund that improved his standings further. Oriol Mena now occupies 19th position in the overall standings.
India TVS rider Aravind KP is holding on quite well and managed to finish the stage in 29th position. This helped him move further up on the overall standings, now ranking 29th, up from 32nd place at the end of stage 2.
His team mate Joan Pedrero had a fantastic run, finishing the stage in 17th place, just 13 minutes shy of the stage leader. He now stands 20th in overall standings.
Both teams suffered a setback in the earlier stages as Hero’s Joaquim Rodrigues crashed out in the first stage and Sherco TVS’ Adrien Metge had a fall in the second stage. Both will have to forfeit the race due to the injuries they sustained.
KTM rider Sam Sunderland led the third stage. He now leads the overall rankings as well, up from fourth place in stage two. Honda rider Kevin Benavides came a close second, just 3 minutes and 3 seconds shy of the leader. KTM rider Toby Price came in third.
The overall rankings now have Sam Sunderland (KTM) in first, followed by Kevin Benavides (Honda) in second and Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) in third.
The fourth stage will start from San Juan de Marcona, covering more than 100 kilometres of sand dunes and running alongside the Pacific ocean before looping back towards the starting point.