Dakar 2018 Stage 3: Sherco-TVS Rally Factory and Hero MotoSports Team Rally Storm Into Top 20

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Following a first long stage that started separating the Men from the Boys on Sunday, competitors had to tackle the dunes of the Ica Desert for one last time, allowing them to showcase their navigation and dune-crossing talents. With the third stage of the Dakar Rally moving from Pisco to a very windy and dusty San Juan De Marcona, there was much time on offer to be made up for the unfortunate participants of the previous day.


The stage, which was described as “for the hardened off-roadies”, was fought mainly off-piste with the terrain offering 63% sand and more dunes. A total of 504 km was on offer today with a Special Stage of 296 km followed by a 208 km Liaison bringing the competitors to the San Juan De Marcona bivouac to rest for the night. The Rally will camp in San Juan De Marcona for the 4th Stage as well, where a change in the landscape at the beginning is expected to provide a new challenge to the riders, but not before hitting dunes again for a total run of 444 km, including the liaison.

In the Indian context, the SHERCO TVS Factory Rally Factory riders once again navigated successfully through a difficult third stage. Summarising the stage, team manager David Casteu said, “It was a very difficult stage with lots of sand and challenging navigation. The riders, as well as the support crew all, suffered, there was a lot of sand dust which makes for a very difficult work environment.”

About Juan Pedrero, who finished the stage in a strong 16th place, David said, “He navigated very well and a lot of riders followed him. He rolled very fast in front and set a very good pace while sparing his mount. He’s only 13 minutes from the top and the upcoming stages will be good for him.” Describing Aravind KP’s performance, who finished the stage in 29th and also holds a similar position in the overall classification, Casteu said, “He is having a very good rally. He is in very good shape, he brings the bike back in perfect condition, I am very happy with him. It’s a very nice Dakar for Aravind.”


Sherco-TVS’ Adrien Metge arrived at the Lima Hospital, where he was well taken care of by the race doctors. He has a broken ankle and will be repatriated in the coming days. However, making the most of his maiden opportunity was Spanish debutant rider Oriol Mena of Hero MotoSports Team Rally. He overcame tough navigation to clock-in a fast time and finish the stage in the 12th place. During the stage, he also stopped for a few minutes to help a fellow competitor who crashed in front of him. This resulted in a time refund, which further improved his rankings. By finishing the stage in 12th, Mena also broke into the top 20 in overall rankings, wiping the dust off his visor in the 19th position on the list.


© RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

On the other hand, C S Santosh of India lost a lot of time as he ran out of fuel, 30 km short of the finish, due to a loose fuel cap. As a result, he slipped down in the rankings, closing Stage 3 in the 98th position and overall at 56th. With nine more stages pending, he will aim to make up for lost time, as much as possible. Describing his performance, Mena said, “This was the first really difficult stage with tough navigation. I stopped for a few minutes at 50 km to help No. 17 who got knocked out due to a crash in front of me. After that, I managed to get my concentration again and made up good speed to arrive home in quick time. I am quite happy with my day and enjoying my experience out there.”


C.S Santosh, who started off well, but lost a lot of time after running out of fuel, said, “I started with a good rhythm today, then went on with the flow in the 2nd part of the stage. I had no issues with the navigation as well. Unlucky for me, the rear tank cap was not closed properly after re-fuelling and I lost my rear tank fuel before I realized it. Finally, I ran out of fuel 30 km short of the finish and had to wait and ask for fuel from some of the slower riders coming at the back. In the process, I lost over an hour’s time today. It was not the best day, but I take the positive that I am still in the race and that’s what counts.”

Stage 3 Classifications

1. Sam Sunderland RedBull KTM Factory Racing KTM 03h 20m 43s

2. Kevin Benavides Honda Factory Racing Honda +03m 03s

3. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Racing KTM +03m 28s

12. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +09m 25s

16. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +13m 08s 

29. Aravind Prabhakar Sherco TVS Rally Factory +28m 18s

98. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally  +1h 55m 14s

Overall Classifications after Stage 3

1. Sam Sunderland RedBull KTM Factory Racing KTM 06h 44m 23s

2. Kevin Benavides Honda Factory Racing Honda +04m 38s

3. Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +05m 00s

19. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally  +32m 33s

20. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +32m 36s

29. Aravind Prabhakar Sherco TVS Rally Factory 01h 03m 44s

56. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +02h 18m 36s

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