Hero’s CS Santosh posted the 38th fastest time in the sixth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, notching up his best stage result since Sunday’s S2.
Santosh started his fourth Dakar outing on a strong note, finishing 13th in the opening stage and remaining in contention of a top-30 result until a loosely-fitted fuel cap in stage 3 dropped him down the order
The start of the Bolivian leg of the rally has led to a return of form for the 34-year-old, who completed Friday’s 313 km special with a time of 2hr09m07s, 14m57s down on stage topper Antoine Meo (KTM).
Despite considerably improved showing, he has actually dropped one place to 52nd in the overall classifications, and trails standings leader Kevin Benavides (Honda) by 4hr52m.
Santosh remains the only Indian rider in the 2018 edition after Aravind KP crashed out of Thursday’s stage 5 and suffered ankle injuries in the accident.
“Bolivia has always been the turning point in the Dakar,” he said. “It was really cold start in the morning and a very long liaison, and then it started to raining making things worse.
“We didn’t have dust today so I knew it was my best chance to pass a few guys and I tried to make the most of the opportunity. Overall good day and I brought the bike home.”
Meanwhile, Santosh’s rookie teammate Oriol Mena put on another impressive outing, finishing 22nd in the stage to improve to 20th in the overall standings.
However, he continues to trail Sherco TVS’s sole remaining rider Joan Pedrero, who holds the 15th spot in the rankings.
Teams will get some much needed on Friday, before the second part of Dakar 2018 begins on January 13.