Dakar 2018, Stage 1: Santosh leads India's charge with top-15

Hero’s CS Santosh was the fastest Indian rider in the opening stage of Dakar Rally, finishing inside the top-15 in the Bikes category.

Dakar 2018, Stage 1: Santosh leads India's charge with top-15
#49 Hero Motorsports Team Rally: CS Santosh
#49 Hero Motorsports Team Rally: CS Santosh
#61 Hero MotoSports Team Rally: Oriol Mena, #49 Hero MotoSports Team Rally: CS Santosh, #26 Hero MotoSports Team Rally: Joaquim Rodrigues
#26 Hero MotoSports Team Rally: Joaquim Rodrigues
Sherco TVS riders line up: Juan Pedrero Garcia, Aravind KP, Adrien Metge

The opening stage of the 2018 event took competitors from the start point in the Peruvian capital of Lima south towards Pisco, with 242km of liaison followed by a brief 31km timed section.

Santosh ended the day 13th quickest with a time of 24m11s, 3m16s down on pacesetter Sam Sunderland (KTM).

Hero’s latest addition Oriol Mena ended a further 58s adrift in 22nd position, while incumbent Joaquim Rodrigues was involved in horrific crash in the first 10km of the timed section.

The Portuguese rider suffered a huge blow to his face against the handle bar of his bike after launching off a high dune. He was airlifted to a hospital and remains under medical observation.

"The important thing is to recover as quickly as possible," a spokesperson from Hero told Motorsport.com. "He has fallen on a dune and hit his face. The doctors are doing tests to rule out further injuries".

Over at Sherco TVS, Adrien Metge led the charge for the Indo-French partnership, finishing the first stage in 23rd place with a time of 25m10s. Juan Pedrero Garcia was next up in 24th position, another 16s off the leader.

And finally, India’s only other rider, Aravind KP, started the 2018 event with a 30th place finish in the opening stage. He completed the 31km timed section in 26m10s, 5m15s slower than timesheet leader Sunderland.

Additional reporting by Sergio Lillo

 
 
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