Hero Motosports team riders-C.S.Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues finish a tough day at Dakar

 Bangalore, January 11, 2017: It was a day in general classifications as the navigational challenges in the first 70 km of the special stage from San Miguel De Tucuman to San Salvador De Jujuy caused many riders to lose their way. On a day when things could have gone a lot worse, Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders came out with mixed fortunes to keep the team’s Dakar campaign very much on track.

Hero Motosports team riders-C.S.Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues finish a tough day at Dakar

Even overnight leader in the general classification Toby Price was among the many casualties of the navigation nightmare. Joaquim Rodrigues, too lost his way that cost him about 35 minutes. But once he was out of the maze of tracks in the riverbed, the rising Portuguese star on the rally-raid scene unlocked some serious speed as the altitudes climbed and the weather deteriorated that included braving a minor hail storm to complete the stage with a time of 8 hour 21 minutes 19 seconds. It helped him to finish the day in 19th place that put him in 20th position in the overall provisional general classifications.

“I got lost at kilometre 30. The first part of the stage was all navigation and with the dust, I got lost and couldn’t find my way out. There was a waypoint in there and it was really hard to find it with all that dust around. A lot of guys passed me, but I managed to get to the end of the stage in good time. So, I am pretty happy. Also, the altitude was new for me. I felt a little dizzy too but I am glad that I was able to hold my concentration at that altitude. It was a pretty good result for me today,” said Rodrigues after reaching the Jujuy bivouac following the first long day in the rally.

C.S. Santosh, on the other hand, had a much tougher time with his navigation as he lost his way in the off-piste section through the river bed. He lost more than an hour trying to get back on the track, which affected his overall standings in the general classification. Santosh completed the timed section in 10 hour 03 minutes 39 minutes that placed him in 67th position for the day and 56th in the overall general classifications.

“As soon as the stage started, the navigation began and it was really hard right from the first kilometres. The track went through the riverbed and the surface was very soft and just to find the exit was really tough. It looked like I was doing the wrong thing and found myself in some very difficult places. I also crashed a few times that upset my whole rhythm and after that I was just trying to manage the remaining race. It was a really difficult and a long day,” said Santosh, who slipped down to 56th place in the provisional general classifications.

The 521-km fourth stage with a competitive distance of 416 km will take the riders over the Bolivian border. They will be spending most of their day above 3,500 metres during the run from San Salvador Jujuy to Tupiza in Bolivia.

Provisional Overall General Classification

1. Joan Barreda Brot, Monster Energy Honda Team, Honda,  07:36:30

2. Sam Sunderland, Red Bull KTM Factory Team, KTM, 07:46:50

3. Paulo Gonclaves, Monster Energy Honda Team, Honda, 07:5012

20. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero Speedbrain, 08:21:19

56. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero Speedbrain, 10:03: 39