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Santosh battles through pain as Hero Team endures tough second stage at Dakar rally

By Pti

Anand Neom (Saudi Arabia), Jan 6: A hand injury prevented Indian racing ace C Santosh going full throttle while Paulo Goncalves finished 12th as Hero MotoSports Team Rally just about managed to negotiate safely the second stage of Dakar Rally.

The stage two took the competitors from Al Wajh to Neom for a special stage of 367 kms. It was a trial for the competitors with more rocky terrain and a lot of dust.

Goncalves rode steadly with an aim to get his bike to the finish without any damages or technical issues. He finished the stage in 12th position and 14th in the overall standings at the end of stage 2. It was the super marathon stage today for Paulo, being an elite rider.

This meant that he got only 10 minutes to work on his bike before depositing it in the Parc Ferme for the second part of the Super Marathon stage, tomorrow. Sebastian Buhler got home fighting through the dust and technical rocky sections to finish the stage in 21st and overall in 25th place.

Santosh, nursing a hand injury from Sunday's crash had to bear the brunt of the rocky sections, impacting his ability to ride fast. Battling through the pain and his impaired ability to hold the bike, he managed a 53rd place finish and 48th place in the overall rankings.

Joaquim Rodrigues, re-started on Monday at the end of the entire starting line. As a result, he rode in the dust for the entire stage but managed to bring the bike home in 48th position. His overall results will not be counted under the wild card regulations.

In the stage 3 scheduled for tomorrow, the Rally will do one more loop around the city of Neom covering 404 kms as a part of the special stage, including the highest section of the Dakar 2020 at an altitude of 1400m.

"It was a really difficult day for me with all this pain in my hand from yesterday's crash. The stage was really rocky and all the impact was coming onto my hand making it really difficult to hold the bike. I will get this checked now and hopefully will have a better stage tomorrow," Santosh said.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No. 8) said, "I tried to ride safe today especially this being the marathon stage but I have a good feeling with the bike so we are in a good place at the moment. I will try to increase my pace day by day without making mistakes to get the team to a good finish."

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Story first published: Monday, January 6, 2020, 20:59 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 6, 2020
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