After a commendable run in the third stage which was 798 km long, Hero MotoSports riders came back strong for the next stage. The fourth stage was a 511km long marathon route from Mequegua to Arequipa. The terrain was ever-changing and the riding conditions kept getting challenging. Dakar rookie, Oriol Mena put in great effort earning him to finish the rally in the best possible time.
Mena’s mix of enduro and cross country skills seem to be paying off. He managed to finish the fourth stage in 11th position. With an eighth-place finish in the third stage, and an 11th place finish in the fourth, he was able to hold his ground in the overall standings at 12th position.
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 7): “The first part of the stage up to the neutralization was extremely fast. I got into a nice rhythm and rode with the leading group for most of the first part. After the neutralization, I decided to ride with more caution in the fesh-fesh and the stony sections to avoid unnecessary risks. Happy to check – in my bike in perfect condition in the Marathon Bivouac and looking forward to the motocross style start tomorrow.
Joaquim Rodrigues tried his best to push ahead, and ride carefully in the dusty conditions which hampered visibility. J-Rod managed to complete the stage in 30th place helping him retain his stand in the overall ranks. CS Santosh was also treading cautiously in an effort to get himself and the bike safely to the finish. This was because the riders would not have any assistance from their teams in case of any emergency or break-down. He finished the stage in 51st place and stands 44th in the overall standings as he checked into the Marathon Bivouac at Moquegua.
Joaquim Rodrigues: “It was not easy for me to catch up in the first part today as I was riding mostly in the dust from the guys in front of me. So I decided to stay out of the risks and just tried to avoid the dust. After the neutralization, I got into a good stride in the technical sections and managed to gain some ground. I feel good to have reached the marathon bivouac with me and the bike in good condition.”
”Well, today I rode the whole stage in the dust, trying to pass the guys in front of me but also be safe at the same time. It was really tricky as there was so much of fesh-fesh around. Besides one or two tip-overs, I am happy with the stage today. I think I am able to manage my race much better this year than last year. So I am happy with my progress and things are looking good so far.” said CS Santosh
However, this was only the first half of the Marathon stage which promised the competitors a mix of 70% soft terrain, fesh-fesh and about 30% of gravel and stony terrain, a perfect formula for another fast yet tricky stage that ran for a total of 511kms including a 351km long special. The second half of the Marathon stage will commence tomorrow bringing the competitors back from the Moquegua to the Arequipa.
Provisional Overall Results after Stage 4
1.Ricky Brabec Honda Factory Racing Honda 12h 33m 00s
2. Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +2m 19s
3. Toby Price KTM Factory Racing KTM +04m 22s
12. Oriol Mena Hero MotoSports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +35m 17s
31. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +02h 30m 51s
44. C S Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +03h 43m 57s