NEW DELHI: CS Santosh climbed three spots to finish 16th overall at the Merzouga Rally in Morocco. Santosh, a two-time Dakar Rally competitor, was the 26th rider to complete Friday’s gruelling final stage, 24m19s behind stage winner Yamaha’s Adrian van Beveren. He finished with the overall time of 19hr19m26s, 4hr16m46s behind eventual winner Honda’s Kevin Benavides.
“It was a very hard week, the navigation was tough, the dunes were tough, so were the rocks and the heat,” Santosh said.
“I’m happy to be here at the finish. I learnt a lot of things that will help me build towards the Dakar.”
The motocross-styled fifth and final stage started with one line of riders per category. The competitors ran the same loop of 37 km twice at the Yasmina dry lake for the complete off-road stage in the dunes of Erg Chebbi and Erg Merzouga.
Santosh’s Hero Motosports teammate Joaquim Rodrigues had his best outing of the rally on Friday, finishing fifth in the final stage, 2m43s behind van Beveren. The Portguese kept his ninth place in the overall standings with a total time of 17hr49m08s finishing 2hr46m28s behind Benavides.