Riyadh: Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Paulo Goncalves continued his fine show and registered his third top 10 spot in a row by finishing stage 6 of the gruelling Dakar Rally at the eighth position.
His teammate Sebastian Buhler, who has been impressive so far and was well poised to break into the top 15 in the overall rankings, suffered a technical issue with his bike and could not finish the stage on Friday.
As a result he too is now out of the contention for the overall results, but like his teammate Joaquim Rodrigues, Buhler will opt to restart the race again in stage 7, and still compete for the stage results and gain valuable Dakar experience.
Another Hero rider CS Santosh continued to gain confidence as he too made a last dash for a better ranking on Friday to finish the stage in the 32nd place.
Rodrigues too had a steady stage as he finished 27th in the stage rankings.
In the overall rankings, now with only two riders in contention, Santosh leads the team at 36th position overall while Goncalves made further gains to climb up to the 46th place.
It has been a tough first week in the Dakar Rally for Hero MotoSports with some really good starts and impressive stage performances being undermined by a series of unfortunate technical snags.
The team is looking forward to the rest day on Saturday here, as it will give everyone a chance to recover mentally and physically and also to re-organise their strategy for the even longer second week of the Dakar 2020.
The stage 6 of the rally was the longest stage yet of the Dakar 2020 with a total of 830 kms to be done, including the 478 kms of the special.
From Ha'il to Riyadh, the change of scenery was dramatic as the special stage was 100 per cent sand and entirely off-road. After a relatively fast first section, the competitors met with the dunes challenge.
The second half of the Dakar 2020 will start on Sunday with the stage 7, the longest stage of the rally with 546 kms to be done on the clock.
It will be followed by a series of really long stages, including a marathon stage, designed to put to test, the endurance and mettle of the competitors before the grand finish at Qiddiyah on 17 January.
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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2020 14:20:17 IST