Dakar 2018 Stage 5 brings an end to Aravind KP's campaign

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Hero MotoSports Team Rally's Oriol Mena and C.S Santosh were 27th and 28th respectively after the second day of the Dakar Rally 2018 here. Leaving the dunes behind, they moved on to unpredictable weather and mountainous terrain as the day saw rain, snow and ice in conditions that were very tough for the riders.

As for the vehicle classification, French rally driver from Peugeot Cyril Despres finished first, taking the top three positions of the day, followed by Stephane Peterhansel in second place and Sebastien Loeb in third. Overall, Mena now stands at the 21st position at the end of stage 5. CS Santosh continued his resurgence in the rankings, despite a troubled ankle owing to an earlier crash.

Meanwhile, fellow American Andrew Short enjoyed the best finish of his Dakar Rally debut, finishing 22nd and moving to 22nd overall, just under 53 minutes off the lead. We didn't have dust today so I knew it was my best chance to pass a few guys and I tried to make the most of the opportunity.

With a well-deserved rest to look forward to, Hero rider CS Santosh said, "Bolivia has always been the turning point in the Dakar". Overall good day and I brought the bike home.

The day was particularly hard for the bikes, as they left after the cars, contrary to what usually happens during the Dakar, and found themselves with a terrain battered by the passing of the cars.

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Mena said he played it safe today but he is focused on making to the finish line at Cordoba. It took everything that I had and the machine had to make it through today. "I'm very happy too, because the idea was to get as high up the rankings as possible before the rest stage, so I cannot be happier".

"Today I chose to trade off safety for speed but it does not matter as there is still a long way to go into the rally". Competitors were challenged by the tricky canyons in the first 40 km of the stage made only tougher by the dunes that followed.

As the competitors rolled into the cold and rainy La Paz podium, the cheer and warmth of the thousands of people who thronged the podium area braving the bad weather, gave them a true Heroes' welcome. "Now we have a day to rest and prepare the second week". Here the race crews will have to service their own cars, without assistance from the technical crews, before tackling Stage 8.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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