The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally has proved to be incredibly tough for CS Santosh. The stage that is held in Jujuy, just before the Dakar heads from Argentina to Bolivia, proved to be the undoing of many riders. Unfortunately for Chunchunguppe Shivashankar, as he is know on the Dakar timing sheets, he was one of them.
While we still don’t know what exactly the trouble was, we do know that Santosh, astride his Suzuki 450 Rally, only managed to finish the stage dead last. With a timing of 6hr 52min 25sec he was 2hr 45min 06sec behind the stage leader. This means after having made steady progress over the first two stages of the Dakar (Stage 1 being cancelled), CS Santosh now drops down to 116th in the overall standings.
Of course, Santosh had expressed that he was having trouble with the Team Suzuki Rally Spain 450 that he was piloting after Stage 2 of the event. But given the steady climb he made, moving up to 79th at the end of Stage 3, this will be a big blow to his chances at the event. Let’s not forget, though, that Santosh also finished the Dakar 36th last year, despite nearly being swept away by a river crossing in Bolivia, and managing to overcome a bleeding nose and broken toe too.
With over 600km remaining in the first marathon stage of the Dakar (there are no mechanics allowed at this point in the event) CS is going to have to keep his wits about him. We’ll keep you posted on how he fares.