Pisco (Peru), Jan 8: Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Oriol Mena and C.S Santosh were 27th and 28th respectively after the second day of the Dakar Rally 2018 here.
Stage 2 was the first full-length stage of the Dakar with a short 12 km liaison section followed by a 267 km loop of Pisco on Sunday. Competitors were challenged by the tricky canyons in the first 40 km of the stage made only tougher by the dunes that followed.
With a tough stage on the cards, both the Hero riders decided to be cautious and steady. Oriol Mena finished the stage at 27th place and Santosh at 29th.
Mena has a total timing of three hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds, while Santosh was 16 seconds behind his teammate.
The third stage of the Rally will commence on January 8 when it moves to the next location of San Juan De Marcona, where the competitors can expect to encounter a Chott (dry/marshy saline lake), a number of canyons and almost 60 per cent sand during the course of the 504 km of riding.
Santosh said: “The Dakar really kicked off today with a difficult stage. The sand was really soft and some of the dunes were really massive. I started really slow but gained a good rhythm. I had fun today and really happy to make it to the end of day 2.”
Mena said: “It was a really hard day today but I covered the 1st half at really good speed and caught up with three riders in front of me. Before the re-fuelling station I had slight problem and lost a few minutes there but happy that I finished today and now have one day less to arrive at Cordoba.”
Spanish motorcyclist Joan Barreda from the Honda team came first in the second stage and proceeded to lead the race despite still recovering from an left-hand injury he suffered in mid 2016, reports Efe.
Barreda’s slow healing injury complicated his performance especially during the first part of the second stage.
However, he recovered in the second half and ultimately finished as first motorcyclist in the stage, almost three minutes before his main rival, French rider Adrien Van Beveren from the Yamaha team and six minutes ahead of the Dakar Rally 2017 champion, Briton Sam Sunderland.
The day was particularly difficult for the bikes, as they left after the cars, contrary to what usually happens during the Dakar, and found themselves with a terrain battered by the passing of the cars.
As for the car classification, French rally driver from Peugeot Cyril Despres finished first, taking the top three positions of the day, followed by Stephane Peterhansel in second place and Sebastien Loeb in third.