Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Spain's Sainz wins Dakar Rally sixth stage

Spain's Sainz wins Dakar Rally sixth stage

The Frenchman, a 13-time Dakar champion in all categories, won the 266-kilometer (165-mile) stage between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa in Peru in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 19 seconds. Oriol Mena from Hero proved to be in full swing despite this being one of the toughest stages of Dakar 2018. The sixth stage of the rally will take the competitors to Bolivia with a 313km special stage.

Both the bikers from Hero MotoSports team made a decision to be safe and cautious with an aim to successfully complete the first half of the Dakar Rally without any incident. However, Joan Pedrero put in a solid performance to finish the stage in 18th place, giving him an overall standing of 15.

Santosh continued his resurgence in the rankings, despite a troubled ankle owing to an earlier crash. In overall standings, Mena now stands at 21st position with the completion of stage 5. He was unable to finish the rally past year after suffering two crashes.

The first leg of the Dakar Rally in Peru was all about negotiating the sand effectively, with the varying terrain adding to the difficulties for the riders. "We've worked really hard during the season to be where we are right now". "I know that if I keep calm and stay focused on my job, we can finish these sand stages with a good overall result". Nevertheless, KP is making good progress to recovery and said, "Post yesterday's crash, I am feeling better now after getting medical attention. Before the re-fuelling station I had slight problem and lost a few minutes there but happy that I finished today and now have one day less to arrive at Cordoba". "There is still a long way to go, but I will do my best to keep this momentum going". "Now tomorrow we rest and the day after we start the party again", Mena said.

As the competitors rolled into the cold and rainy La Paz podium, the cheer and warmth of the thousands of people who thronged the podium area braving the bad weather, gave them a true Heroes' welcome. The notorious rally spans a healthy portion of January, this year running Jan 6-20, with a rest day in La Paz, Bolivia, for a total of 14 stages and nearly 5,600 miles of race fun.

The next stage of the rally will be from La Paz to Uyuni for the first marathon stage of 425 km.

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