Dakar Rally 2018: Matthias Walkner consolidates No. 1 spot, Oriol Mena in top 10

Red Bull KTM Factory team’s Matthias Walkner consolidated his top position with a fifth place finish in the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally 2018.

other sports Updated: Jan 18, 2018 18:25 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, Chilecito
Dakar Rally 2018,Matthias Walkner,Oriol Mena
Hero MotoSports rider Oriol Mena (in pic) finished in the top 10 after stage 11 of the Dakar Rally. Matthias Walkner of Red Bull KTM Factory ended the stage in the lead. (HT Photo)

It was the Dakar Rally 2018’s first marathon stage but debutant Oriol Mena showed no nerves. The Hero MotoSports rider finished stage 11 at ninth place to move into the top 10 ranking overall.

Red Bull KTM Factory team’s Matthias Walkner consolidated his top position (bikes) with a fifth place finish in the 11th stage.

He now leads second-placed Kevin Benavides of Honda team by 32 minutes, though the latter finished No. 2 in stage 11.

Marathon stage

In the bike section, stage 11 was the first leg of the Marathon stage as they covered a liaison of 205 km and a special stage of 280 km to camp overnight in the Fiambala Mountains. The stage left the riders without the assistance crew for the second time in the rally.

The only Indian left in the competition, Hero MotoSports’ CS Santosh, moved up to 34th place in the overall ranking after finishing the stage at 33rd position.

With only three stages remaining now, Santosh would hope to move into the top 30. The 12th stage will take the competitors to San Juan.

The 34-year-old from Bengaluru had suffered a crash in the second half of 10th stage that knocked him out for a short while. “Today I was still very tired from yesterday so my mission was to make it to the marathon bivouac today. So I am happy to be here. Now I just need to get some rest and renew my energy and focus for the second leg of the marathon stage tomorrow,” Santosh said.

Sainz on top

For the cars, the stage 11 was of 747 km and Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Bernhard Ten Brinke and Michel Perin finished the first leg of the marathon stage on top.

Team Peugeot Total’s Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz finished the stage at the third place to continue to stay at top in the overall ranking.

Their teammates Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret, whose car had malfunctioned in an earlier as they conceded lead, finished fourth in the 11th stage and maintained their second position. However, Sainz and Cruz’s lead is more than one hour now.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 18:25 IST