Uyuni (Bolivia), Jan 14 (IANS) Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Oriol Mena and C.S. Santosh finished 17th and 40th, respectively, after the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally here.
After the much deserved rest day at La Paz, the Dakar Rally on Saturday went on the road again with the first Marathon stage kicking off from La Paz to Uyuni. A change in software was required for the riders as the landscape changed from sandy dunes to lot of river beds and harder ground and the stages become longer and faster from here on.
Mena and Santosh tackled the stage with a steady head and arrived at the Uyuni bivouac safely, though deprived of any assistance from the team for this overnight halt as per the regulations of the Marathon stage.
Mena had another good stage as he finished the stage at 17th position which gave him 30th position in overall standings with a timing of 23 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds.
Santosh also had a good day, finishing Saturday’s stage at 39th position and an overall ranking of 40 at the end of stage 7 with a timing of 28 hours, nine minutes and 41 seconds.
Spanish rider Joan Barreda of Honda won Saturday’s stage in 5:11:10 with Dutchman Adrien Van Beveren second on his Yamaha, almost three minutes behind, reports Xinhua news agency.
Van Beveren leads the overall standings with a timing of 21 hours, 49 minutes and 18 seconds. He was three minutes and 14 seconds ahead of Honda’s Argentine rider Kevin Benavides.
In the four-wheeler category, Spain’s Carlos Sainz took the overall lead by winning Saturday’s seventh stage.
The veteran Peugeot driver ended the 425km timed section in four hours 49 minutes and 26 seconds, more than 12 minutes ahead of South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers in a Toyota. Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah was third, also in a Toyota, 14:19 behind.
Overnight leader and defending champion Peterhansel finished 1:48:00 behind Sainz after his Peugeot struck a rock and required repairs.
Sainz now heads the overall race standings, more than 1:11:00 faster than Al-Attiyah and one hour 21 minutes clear of Peterhansel.
Stage 8 will see the rally move through to Tupiza for the 2nd leg of the Marathon Stage, which will test the riders with the longest special stage of the rally, covering nearly 500 kms.
Tupiza will be the last halt for the rally in Bolivia before changing the borders again and crossing over to Argentina.