India’s CS Santosh moved further up the order after putting on a gritty performance in the second marathon stage of Dakar Rally, while Hero teammate Oriol Mena broke inside the top-10.
The first part of the marathon stage ran from Belen to Fiambala, with a 205 km liaison followed by a timed section of 280 km.
Santosh posted the 33rd fastest time, 1hr25m08s down on stage topper Toby Price (KTM), in what was his most competitive showing since stage 2.
Following the result, he jumps from from 39th to 35th in the general classifications with two stages still to run.
“Today I was still very tired still from yesterday so my mission was to make it to the marathon bivouac today,” he said.
“I am happy to be here as I got another tough day in the bag today. Now I just need to get some rest and renew my energy and focus for the second leg of the marathon stage tomorrow.”
There was further cheer at Hero as Oriol Mena continued his strong rookie showing to enter the top-10.
Mena completed the stage 27 mins down on Price, but enough to take ninth spot in the stage classifications and 10th in the overall timesheets.
“The navigation as well was quite tough and the soft sand made it quite physically exhausting, making the stage look longer than it was,” he said.
“But everything went very well, the bike was working great. I am happy to make it to the bivouac and to have another good finish today.”
Juan Pedrero, Sherco TVS’ sole remaining rider, enjoyed his best showing in Dakar as he finished eighth in the 280 km stage.
The result propels him to 14th in the overall order and shave off Mena’s advantage to less than 11 minutes.