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Dakar 2022: Harith Noah conquers tricky stage to stay afloat

Harith Noah

Bengaluru, January 9: Sherco TVS Factory Team rider Harith Naoh bounced back after the rest day in 2022 FIA Dakar Rally in Saudia Arabia to finish a respectable 23rd in Stage 7 as he improved his overall ranking by a position to 27th.

As competitors took a well earned day off from the track, the mechanics got busy tuning up the race vehicles for a second week of intense off-road action and after the rest day, it has been business as usual for the competitors.

The 28-year-old, who is the only rider representing India in the most-demanding off-road rally in its 44th edition began on an aggressive note and shot into the top-16 after the first 50kms negotiating rough terrain and long stretches of dunes before the second Waypoint.

As per a Media Release received, despite having to ride back losing about 10kms, to log at a missed Waypoint, the Kerala-based rider displayed enough grit and continued his stunning pace to advance admirably in the 402kms timed special stage.

Dakar 2022: Harith Noah defies odds to improve overall rankingDakar 2022: Harith Noah defies odds to improve overall ranking

The Sports Science graduate from Shoranur had injured his shoulder badly during the second fall in Stage 5, but carried the injury bravely and with grit moved ahead steadily.
"I enjoyed the stage despite being a cold day. It was a long and tough day with challenging navigation and tricky dunes, but I like difficult navigation. I was alone all day and was pushing myself all the way," said Noah.

With sights firmly trained on the finishline in Jeddah on Friday (January 14), Noah exuded confidence.

"I hope there'll be more days like this and today was fun," he added.

Astride a Sherco 450 SEF Rally, the Indian spent months in preparation for the the gruelling rally and cleared another stage which saw four more of the 140 plus riders suffer casualty.

Harith Noah gears up for Dakar 2022Harith Noah gears up for Dakar 2022

Noah's team-mates at Sherco, Lorenzo Santolino was the best among those with India connections, finishing 5th ahead of Hero MotoSports Joaquim Rodriques while another Sherco rider Rui Goncalves was placed 16th.

Aaron Mare, the youngster from Hero MotoSports was placed 22nd.

Five more stages are left in the 12-stage 7200-km rally, the first leg of the new World Cross Country rally championship.

The 2022 FIA Dakar Rally convoy has now clocked up nearly 2,500km of racing over perilous terrain in Saudi Arabia.

The Dakar competitors are thrown straight in at the deep as the action gets interesting with the business end approaching. Buck up guys!

Dakar Rally 2022 (Stage 7) Provisional Classification:

1. #11 Jose Ignacio Cornejo F (Chile) (Monster Energy Honda). 03H 28' 46";
2. #1 Kevin Benavides (Argentina) (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing); 03H 29' 30" +00' 44".
3. #88 Joan Barreda Bort (Spain) (Monster Energy Honda); 03H 31' 37"; +2' 51";
4. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3H 36' 36" +7' 50";
5. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 3H 37' 15" +8' 29";
23. Harith Noah (Sherco TVS Rally Team) 3H 51'10" +00H 22'24;

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 7)
1. #42 Adrian van Beveren (France) (Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team); 23H 45' 02";
2. #52 Mathias Walkner (Austria) (Red Bull KTM Factory Team); 23H 50' 14"; +05'12";
3. #1 Kevin Benavides (Argentina) (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing); 23H 50' 25"; +05' 23".

27. Harith Noah (Sherco TVS Rally Team) 25H, 38' 17"; +1H 53' 15".

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Story first published: Sunday, January 9, 2022, 20:28 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 9, 2022