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Dakar Rally: CS Santosh slips out of top 50 due to loose fuel cap in stage 3

CS Santosh had a disappointing end to Day 3 of the Dakar Rally as he slipped down the overall rankings due to finishing the stage at 101st position because of a loose fuel cap.

other sports Updated: Jan 09, 2018 15:14 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, San Juan De Marcona (Peru)
Dakar Rally,CS Santosh,Hero MotoSports
CS Santosh slipped down in the overall rankings on Day 3 of the Dakar Rally in San Juan De Marcona, Peru. (RallyZone/HT Photo)

On the first day of the 2018 Dakar Rally, CS Santosh had talked about how luck could play a big part in his campaign, especially in the desert stages. It took just two days for the 34-year-old Indian rider’s concerns to prove right.

After staying in top 30 in the first two stages, Hero MotoSports’ Santosh slipped down the rankings due to a loose fuel cap. After stage 3, he seats at No. 57. The Bengaluru-based rider ran out of fuel 30km from the finish line on the third day of the 9000 km rally. He finished the stage at the 101st position while his overall rankings is 57.

The Peruvian desert has been a gruelling ride for the competitors and Santosh feels it has been his toughest challenge so far.

“I have never seen anything like this. In India, we mostly get dirt tracks. But here the sand is soft while the slopes are really steep. Tyres often get stuck. I wonder how the cars and trucks are managing to race,” he said.

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About the mishap, Santosh added: “I was unlucky as the rear tank cap was not closed properly after re-fuelling. I lost my rear tank fuel before I realised it. I had to wait and ask for the fuel from some of the slower riders coming at the back,” Santosh said after the day’s race. “In the process, I lost over an hour’s time.”

“I started with good rhythm, went on with the flow in the 2nd part of the stage. I had no issues with the navigation as well. But ultimately it was not the best day, but I am still in the race.”

However, with nine more stages remaining, a lot of depend on Santosh’s luck on whether he can better last year’s 47th place finish.

Hero MotoSports’ other rider Oriol Mena had a brilliant third stage and he rose to 20th position. During the third stage, he also stopped for few minutes to help a fellow competitor, who crashed in front of him. This may result in a time refund, which will further improve his rankings.

READ | CS Santosh finishes Dakar Rally Day 1 in 13th, but team loses Joaquim Rodriguez

The other Indian rider, TVS Sherco Racing’s KP Aravind finished the day in the 29th position. He was happy with the way he performed against the top riders, including Santosh.

“I always looked up to Santosh when he was in TVS Racing. Even now after a day’s race we talk about strategy and performance. I am happy with the way I have done so far. Most of the top riders here often come to Peru. So, for me finishing the race is more important. I don’t want to do anything foolish early on,” he said.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 09:09 IST