CS Santosh recovers to 56th after stage 4 of 2018 Dakar Rally, KP Aravind 44th | other sports | Hindustan Times
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CS Santosh recovers to 56th after stage 4 of 2018 Dakar Rally, KP Aravind 44th

CS Santosh of Hero MotoSports, despite a crash, climbed a place on Tuesday while KP Aravind of Sherco TVS Factory Rally team was the highest ranked Indian after the fourth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally 2018.

other sports Updated: Jan 10, 2018 14:35 IST
Abhishek Paul
CS Santosh of Hero MotoSports n action during the start of the fourth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, which involved a mass start at the beachfront, before the riders hit the dunes.
CS Santosh of Hero MotoSports n action during the start of the fourth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, which involved a mass start at the beachfront, before the riders hit the dunes.(RallyZone - Edoardo Bauer)

CS Santosh, who suffered a major dip in position after the third stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally owing to a loose fuel cap, gained one place to be 56th overall after stage 4 on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Hero MotoSports rider had a crash in the latter part of the fourth day but managed to maintain his composure and improve from overnight 57th on the sand dunes near San Juan De Marcona. Hero’s other rider, Oriol Mena was 33rd after the fourth stage.

Meanwhile, KP Aravind of Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team, was in 44th place after Tuesday’s stages to be the highest ranked Indian in the rally.

Aravind’s teammate, Juan Pedrero Garcia of Spain was in 17th position and looks set to push for a top 10 finish in the rally.

Adrien van Beveren leads

British rider Sam Sunderland abandoned his Dakar Rally title defense due to back pain even as Adrien van Beveren of France won the fourth stage (bikes). He also moved into the overall lead, taking a 1:55 lead over Pablo Quintanilla of Chile.

Meanwhile, Portuguese football coach Andre Villas-Boas was taken to a hospital after his car crashed against a sand dune. Villas-Boas was in 43rd position (car segment) for team Toyota at the time of his accident.

Former multiple World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb won the car stage after a tussle with defending champion and Peugeot teammate Stephane Peterhansel.

Both the drivers swapped leads before Loeb crossed the fourth and last checkpoint first, Carlos Sainz by 95 seconds, followed by overall car segment leader Peterhansel.

Santosh’s crash

The fourth stage presented a new challenge for the riders. It started at the beachfront in a mass start format with 15 bikes per set. After this sprint along the beach, the competitors were had to tackle one of the longest sandy sections ever in the history of the Dakar, a total of 100 km with dunes of all sizes making up a total stage run of 444km including the special stage of 330 km.

CS Santosh said he would have finished higher up the standings had he not crashed.

“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,” Santosh said after the day’s stage.

“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.”

His teammate Mena said that he lost position because he went off-route for 20 minutes during the stage.

“It was a tough stage. I lost out on one waypoint and lost nearly 20 minutes to find that. Finally I am here back at the bivouac which is important thing and tomorrow will be another day,” he added.

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