CS Santosh pulls out of Desert Storm after crash in leg three
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CS Santosh pulls out of Desert Storm after crash in leg three

CS Santosh has pulled out after his crash in the leg three of the Desert storm left him with a neck injury. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider was leading after the first two stages.

other sports Updated: Mar 22, 2018 23:02 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Jaisalmer
CS Santosh,Hero MotoSports Team Rally,Desert Storm
CS Santosh was able to complete stage three of the desert storm despite injury.(Hindustan Times)

India’s top rider C S Santosh pulled out of the Desert Storm following his crash in leg three of the cross-country rally, giving Aaron Mare and Santolino Lorenzo an opening to fight for the lead going into the remaining two days.

Santosh, representing Hero MotoSports Team Rally, was leading at the end of the first two legs and looked set for his fourth title here until he met with a crash on Wednesday, leaving him with a neck injury.

However, he still managed to finish the stage in second place fighting through pain and discomfort. The team said Santosh did not suffer a major injury and his withdrawal from the event was a precautionary step.

READ | CS Santosh stays in lead after leg 2 at Desert Storm

“There was a lot of dust around and the visibility was not good. I could not spot a sand bank that suddenly appeared and I crashed quite hard. There is a sharp pain in my neck and movement is very restricted. We have decided to not risk it further so we are pulling out of the rally now. I am sorry and disappointed that I could not make it to the finish line,” said Santosh.

South African Mare of Angata Racing took the overall lead with a time of five hours 29 minutes and 39 seconds, almost 13 minutes ahead of TVS Racing’s Lorenzo who produced a scorching run in the sand to emerge as the fastest rider in leg three.

READ | Dakar Rally 2018: CS Santosh finishes career-best 35th, Carlos Sainz wins car section

Lorenzo, a former World Junior Enduro Champion, now feels victory in his maiden Desert Storm is possible. Lorenzo will start leg four in the second position. The Spaniard was lagging behind in eighth spot after the opening leg but has been getting faster by the day.

The rally coursed through the sand-dunes surrounding Jaisalmer and the riders braved severe heat as well as the unpredictable terrain in the 348 kilometres stretch through Mokul and Asutar.

Lorenzo’s counter-part in the Group A (upto 450cc category), Abdul Wahid Tanveer, had a decent day and is fifth in the overall standings.

READ | Steady CS Santosh overcomes marathon stage in Dakar Rally

Commenting on the team’s performance, B Selvaraj, TVS Racing said, “It has been an incredible leg for Lorenzo as he has really upped his game to finish at the top.”

Leg four, which is divided into two parts, will see riders traverse a distance of 452 kilometers in the region of Bhuwana, Asutar and Majid ki Basti.

Rajendra RE and Imran Pasha of TVS Racing had to retire from the event due to technical issues.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 20:29 IST