Santosh 51st overall after stage 5 at Dakar Rally

Santosh 51st overall after stage 5 at Dakar Rally

Sainz believes the opening six stages of the 2018 event have had too much running in sand, but he still has hope that he can close the gap to thirteen-time victor Peterhansel and fight for his second Dakar Rally victory to add to his 2010 triumph whilst with Volkswagen.

Pablo Quintanilla finished fourth in Stage 4 but moved to second overall, less than 2 minutes out of the rally lead. Commenting on his performance, Joan Pedrero said, "I am very happy to be back on track in Bolivian territory".

The second stage brought some bad news for TVS Sherco, with French rider Metge involved in an accident that saw him suffer a broken ankle.

CS Santosh played it safe, and ended the stage in 52nd position.

After the race's only rest day, the field will tackle the seventh stage on Saturday between La Paz and Uyuni, which includes a 302km liaison and a 425km special. Competitors were challenged by the tricky canyons in the first 40 km of the stage made only tougher by the dunes that followed. Aravind's dream of becoming the only second Indian to finish the Dakar Rally has shattered again due to this unfortunate incident.

However, he recovered in the second half and ultimately finished as first motorcyclist in the stage, nearly three minutes before his main rival, French rider Adrien Van Beveren from the Yamaha team and six minutes ahead of the Dakar Rally 2017 champion, Briton Sam Sunderland.

With a tough stage on the cards, both the Hero riders chose to be cautious and steady. Despite the hard terrain, TVS Sherco riders navigated the stage expertly and gaining multiple positions. But instead he was left rebooking his flight home after his Peugeot became stuck in the dunes twice, with a truck having to help him out of a sand hole, costing him nearly three hours. Oriol Mena continued his solid run from yesterday to finish the stage at 23rd position, and an overall 21st place. The bikers will have to change software and get ready for long stretches of good navigation before they hit the sand dunes at a high altitude.

Both the bikers from Hero MotoSports team chose to be safe and cautious with an aim to successfully complete the first half of the Dakar Rally without any incident.

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