Following the cancellation of Stage 9 due to weather conditions, the Dakar Rally 2018, for its 10th stage, moved to the town of Belen in Argentina. The tenth stage of the Rally, from Salta to Belén, spanned across 797 kilometres with a ‘special’ of 373 kilometres. Meant to be a day of navigation contest, it however soon turned into a day filled with a lot of unfavourable developments with crashes, exits and riders getting lost through the day.
Following the overnight halt at Salta, the Stage proved to be one the toughest stages of this Dakar, but Hero MotoSports Team Rally put another stage in the books with both their riders back at the bivouac, ready to fight another day. Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team’s Juan Pedrero was also in top form during the stage, finishing at an impressive 10th position and now stands at 17th position in overall rankings.
Talking about Juan’s performance, the team’s only remaining hope at the event, David Casteu, Team Manager Sherco-TVS Factory Rally Team said, “Juan had a good outing today. He rode smartly and brought the bike back in very good condition. Tonight, the mechanics will carry out a complete overhaul of the engine, because tomorrow is the first day of a marathon stage. The team is energized and we are keeping Juan motivated. Tomorrow he will be able to start in a good position and should be able to maintain a good pace.”
On the other hand, showing gritty performance and flawless navigation during the course of the Stage, Oriol Mena of Hero MotoSports Team Rally was aggressive from the beginning and finished the Stage in a very commendable 4th position – his best Dakar Stage finishes yet! He also stopped and called for rescue for a fellow rider, who crashed in front of him, displaying excellent sportsman’s spirit. Overall, he now stands at the 14th position at the end of Stage 10. Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Indian rider, CS Santosh started the stage quite well until he suffered a crash in the second half of the stage that knocked him out for a short while. However, with a quick intervention from the Team, Santosh managed to finish the difficult stage at the 44th position, which puts him at the 40th position overall at the end of Stage 10.
The upcoming stage from Belén to Fiambala is heavily dependent on the weather conditions as that will determine the firmness of the sand. It is one of the toughest stages in Argentina but provides an avenue for good riders to shine. The competitors will get only a few hours to shrug off the events of the Stage and regain their composure for Stage 11, which is going to be the second Marathon Stage for the motorcycle category.
Stage 10 Classification
1. Matthias Walkner Red Bull KTM Factory Team 04H 52m 26s
2. Pablo Quintanilla Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +11m 35s
3. Gerard Farres Guell Himoinsa Racing Team +16m 21s
4. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally +20m 45s
10. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +36m 24s
44. CS Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +01H 53m 15s
1. Matthias Walkner Red Bull KTM Factory Team 32H 21m 03s
2. Joan Barreda Port Monster Energy Honda Team +39m 42s
3. Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team +41m 23s
14. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally +1H 57m 08s
17. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +02H 25m 18s
39. CS Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +09H 06m 02s