A stage with the longest stretch of sand dunes lasting for up to 100 kms was negotiated well by team TVS, with the riders working hard to get past the dunes and the rocks. "I set a blistering pace throughout the stage and it worked".
France's Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) retained the overall lead despite finishing fifth in the stage, but saw his advantage over Argentina's Kevin Benavides (Honda) reduced to just one minute.
"I am very proud because it is the first time that an Argentine rider has led the Dakar Rally", said Benavides, who is one minute and fifty-seven seconds clear of van Beveren after the first six stages.
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 nearly 60 per cent sand during the course of the 504 km of riding. Overall good day and I brought the bike home. He was unable to finish the rally past year after suffering two crashes.
Pablo Quintanilla finished fourth in Stage 4 but moved to second overall, less than 2 minutes out of the rally lead. However, Joan Pedrero put in a solid performance to finish the stage in 18th place, giving him an overall standing of 15.
It was Stage 5 victor Joan Barreda who led the bikes off the start alongside the banks of the Titicaca Lake. I was feeling a bit exhausted in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. I spent a bit more time at that waypoint trying to find it; everyone was going their own way. I'm back in the top 10 and, although the deficit is still big, I'm sure I'll find an opening. The bikers will have to change software and get ready for long stretches of good navigation before they hit the sand dunes at a high altitude. Unfortunately it wasn't there. Hero MotoSports rider CS Santosh was back in action mode traversing through the high altitude region as he completed the stage in 38th position and 56th overall.
"That was my best ever stage in rallying", Short said. After finding that, I was able to continue with some really fast guys and manage to stay with them for a good distance. "I'm very happy too, because the idea was to get as high up the rankings as possible before the rest stage, so I cannot be happier".