The sixth stage of Dakar 2018 saw the teams leave behind the treacherous deserts of Peru and scale the altitudes of Bolivia, grazing past the famous Lake Titicaca. Covering a stretch of 760 kilometres from Arequipa (Peru) to La Paz (Bolivia), the special stage consisted of 313 kilometres. However, like every time, weather and climate played spoilsport as the Dakar Rally entered its Bolivian leg. Staying true to that tradition, the first part of the 6th stage of the Dakar Rally from Arequipa to La Paz had to be cancelled owing to bad weather and foggy conditions for the riders. The revised 6th stage was limited only to a 194 km of timed section, from the originally planned stage of 313 km but not before the riders tackled everything from snow, freezing temperature and rain; all this at an altitude of 4800 m.
Their last remaining hope at the event, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team’s Joan Pedrero fared well during the stage despite the challenges and finished at an impressive 16th position. With this pace, the Sherco TVS Factory Rally team’s lead racer has jumped up to 15th position in the overall rankings. Commenting on his performance, Joan Pedrero said, “I am very happy to be back on track in Bolivian territory. I feel good and for me, the race starts now. I am going to attack as much as possible and make up some places. It was very difficult in Peru, but now we have returned to Bolivia and I will be able to give it my best!”
Aravind KP, who had to retire at the end of stage six due to an injury, is stable and undergoing medical treatment. Recuperating after the fall, he said, “Post yesterday’s crash, I am feeling better now after getting medical attention. I would like to thank all my fans and well-wishers for their love and support all through Dakar. The doctors in Lima have informed me that I will require surgery once back in India. So, I am focused on staying positive and recovering quickly so that I can get back on the bike quickly.”
On the other hand, both riders from Hero MotoSports Team Rally decided to be safe and cautious with an aim to successfully complete the 1st half of the Dakar Rally without any unwanted incident. Oriol Mena continued his solid run from yesterday to finish the stage at 23rd position, and an overall 21st place. CS Santosh continued his resurgence in the rankings, despite a troubled ankle owing to an earlier crash. He finished the stage at 38th position and overall 51st place at the end of the first half of the Dakar Rally.
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. The competitors now get a much-deserved rest day on 12th January, to rest their tired and bruised bodies and minds before the second leg of the rally kicks off. The next stage will move the rally from La Paz on 13th January for its 1st marathon stage of 425 km to Uyuni. As per regulations, the riders will not be able to receive any assistance from the crew at their overnight halt at Uyuni and will be on their own.
Stage 6 Classification:
1. Antoine Meo Bort RedBull KTM Factory Racing 01H 54m 10s
2. Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team +10s
3. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Racing +10s
15. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +04m 51s
22. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +07m 51s
37. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +14m 57s
Overall Classification After Stage 6
1. Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team 16h 33m+10s
2. Adrian Van Beveren Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +01m 57s
3. Matthias Walkner Red Bull KTM Factory Team +03m 50s
15. Juan Pedrero Garcia Sherco TVS Rally Factory +53m 26s
20. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally Hero MotoSports +01H 14m 07s
52. C.S. Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +04H 52m 00S