The Dakar is getting progressively harder with each passing day. The fifth stage of the event kicked off from San Juan de Marcona and moved on to Arequipa, for the rally's last leg in Peru. It was a tough couple of days for both Hero MotoSports Team Rally's riders, but Oriol Mena came through to take his best stage finish of the Dakar yet. The Spaniard finished 11th, which puts him in the top 15 for the second time in the 2018 Dakar. He is now ranked 21st overall in the Moto class.
CS Santosh played it safe, and ended the stage in 52nd position. This ensured that he gained 5 spots in the rankings, ending 51st in the overall standings of the Moto class at the end of Stage 5.
Speaking of his performance in Stage 5, Oriol Mena said, "It was probably one of the toughest stage of the Dakar 2018 and new experience for me. I am really happy to finish well without any major mistakes. The first part was yesterday's stage in reverse with a lot of navigation involved. Tracks from yesterday and today, made it even worse for the navigation. The last 53 km was made of extremely soft sands and there were cars and trucks stranded everywhere, but I managed that section well. Now we have about 450 kms to make it to the Bivouac at Arequipa and it will be another day in the bag."
The going was harder for CS Santosh, "It was really hard day. I was feeling a bit tired in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. The stage was tough, especially the last 50 km or so. The dunes were really churned up and the sand was incredibly soft. It took everything that I had and the machine had to make it through today. One more day to go before the much deserved rest day!"
Competitors are now en route Arequipa to La Paz, Bolivia, the world's highest capital city. Sand dunes will now be left behind as the rally gets faster, with stages being held in the Bolivian Altiplano at an altitude of 250om and above.
Provisional Stage 5 Classifications
1. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, 03h 19m 42s
2. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +10m 26s
3. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +12m 20s
11. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +21m 35s
52. C.S. Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01h 25m 37s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 5
1. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Factory Racing, Yamaha, 14h 37m 40s
2. Kevin Benavides, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +01m 00s
3. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +01m 14s
21. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +01 07m 46s
51. C.S. Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +04h 38m 33s