HA'IL, SAUDI ARABIA
Hero MotoSports Team Rally consolidates its position in Stage 5.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally consolidated their good showing from the previous stage to hold it steady today with an aim to keep it safe before the rally halts in Riyadh on 11th January for a much deserved rest day. Paulo Goncalves continued to press forward today as well and delivered a back-to-back Top 10 finish for the team at 10th place. Sebastian Buhler maintained his good form and brought the stage home in 21st place. Santosh too had a good stage today, finding his rhythm to finish the stage in 37th place, while Joaquim Rodrigues suffered a minor crash but managed to close the stage in 25th position.
After today’s steady performance, Paulo Goncalves climbed up several positions for the second day in a row to finish 59th place in the overall rankings. Buhler maintained his Top 20 position with his 19th place overall finish, and Santosh climbed up a few more ranks today to break into the top 40 at 39th place in the overall rankings.
“I TRIED TO PUSH HARD AND RODE WELL.” -PAULO GONÇALVES
With just one more stage to go, and the stage complexion changing from being more technical to wide open desert, tomorrow’s stage is expected to see more competitors trying to push hard in tackling the longest stage of the Dakar yet, with 830 kms to be done, including the 478 km special.
Today, there was a change in scenery from the trials and stony tracks of the last 3-4 days to more open desert. In the first part of the stage, I tried to push hard and rode well. After the refuelling, there was 200 kms of open off-piste that could be fast but dangerous as well. So, I decided to calm my pace a bit down to avoid crashes and arrived well for me and the Hero team. Now, we have one more day before we get a rest day to recover well.
Difficult day for me today as the stage was really hard. In the beginning, I was riding really well but in the second half, I had a crash and lost some time. But I am ok for tomorrow and happy that I was able to get my Hero bike back to the finish line.
What an amazing last 2 days it has been at the Dakar. The last two stages have been tough but really incredible. In the beginning of the stage today, we had some rocks, sands and piste but the second half was just open off-piste, camel grass and undulations for about 200 kms. I really enjoyed the riding the stage today and I am starting to feel better and more confident on the bike. Can’t wait to see what the next few days are going to bring for us.
It was a hard stage and we had almost 200 kms in the off-piste towards the end. I think I did well today, tried not to go too fast to avoid making any mistakes. The rally is very long and I want to finish with a good place. So, let’s see how it goes tomorrow.
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS - STAGE 5
|01||Toby Price||RedBull KTM Racing||03h 57m 33s|
|02||Pablo Quintanilla||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||+01m 12s|
|03||Andrew Short||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||+02m 31s|
|10||Paulo Goncalves||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+13m 15s|
|21||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+23m 33s|
|25||Joaquim Rodrigues||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+27m 59s|
|37||CS Santosh||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+52m 55s|
OVERALL STANDINGS - STAGE 5
|01||Ricky Brabec||Monster Energy Honda Racing||19h 07m 19s|
|02||Toby Price||RedBull KTM Racing||+09m 06s|
|03||Kevin Benavides||Monster Energy Honda Racing||+11m 32s|
|19||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+01h 44m 57s|
|39||CS Santosh||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+04h 59m 09s|
|59||Paulo Goncalves||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+07h 47m 52s|