Hero Team’s Mena 18th, Santosh 42nd at Dakar Rally

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Tupiza (Bolivia), Jan 15 (IANS) Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Oriol Mena and C.S. Santosh finished 18th and 42nd, respectively, after the Marathon stage at the Dakar Rally here.

Mena on Sunday completed the eighth stage — from Uyuni to Tupiza of 498 kms followed by an 87 km liaison section — at 12th position. His overall timing stands at 29 hours, five minutes.

Santosh finished the tough marathon stage at 38th position, which lands him at 42nd place in the overall rankings at the ends of stage 8 with a timing of 34 hours, 39 minutes and 24 seconds.

“I think this Marathon stage was the hardest I have ever done. It was incredibly difficult as we did 80 km off-piste and the camel grass. I was physically drained with the high altitude riding and also crashed a couple of times. By the time I reached the marathon bivouac I had nothing left in me,” Santosh said in a release.

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France’s Antoine Meo won the stage, clocking five hours 24 minutes and one second on his KTM, more than a minute head of American Ricky Brabec on a Honda. Australian KTM rider Toby Price was third, almost three minutes off the pace, reports Xinhua news agency.

France’s Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren leads the overall bike standings by just 22 seconds from Argentina’s Kevin Benavides on a Honda. Austria’s Matthias Walkner is third, more than six-and-a-half minutes behind on his KTM.

In the four-wheeler category, France’s defending champion Stephane Peterhansel held off compatriot and Peugeot teammate Cyril Despres to win the eighth stage.

Peterhansel finished the 498km timed section from Uyuni to Tupiza in five hours 15 minutes and 18 seconds — 49 seconds ahead of Despres and more than two minutes faster than Toyota’s Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah.

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Spain’s Carlos Sainz, fifth in Sunday’s stage, remains the overall leader, more than an hour ahead of Al-Attiyah with Peterhansel third, another seven minutes further back.

Organisers called of Monday’s ninth stage from Tupiza to the Argentine city of Salta due to bad weather.

–IANS

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