Santosh fights pain while Hero Team endures a tough second stage in the Dakar rally

By Amit Anand

Neom (Saudi Arabia), January 6 () A hand injury prevented Indian racing ace C Santosh from accelerating while Paulo Goncalves finished 12th as Hero MotoSports Team Rally almost successfully negotiated the second stage of the Dakar Rally.

Stage two took Al Wajh's competitors to Neom for a special stage of 367 km. It was a test for competitors with more rocky terrain and lots of dust.

Goncalves rode constantly in order to take his bike to the finish line without damage or technical problems. He finished the stage in position 12 and 14 in the general classification at the end of stage 2.

It was the super marathon stage today for Paulo, being an elite driver. This meant that he only had 10 minutes to work on his bike before depositing it in the Parc Ferme for the second part of the Super Marathon stage, tomorrow.

Sebastian Buhler came home fighting through the dust and technical rock sections to finish the stage in 21st place and generally in 25th place.

Santosh, who suffered a hand injury from Sunday's accident, had to endure the worst part of the rocky sections, which affected his ability to drive fast. Fighting pain and his impaired ability to hold the bicycle, he achieved a position in 53rd place and 48th in the general classification.

Joaquim Rodrigues, restarted on Monday at the end of the entire starting line. As a result, he rode in the dust throughout the stage, but managed to take the bike home in position 48. His overall results will not be counted under wild card regulations.

In stage 3 scheduled for tomorrow, the Rally will make one more tour around the city of Neom that will cover 404 km as part of the special stage, including the highest section of the Dakar 2020 at an altitude of 1400m.

It was a really difficult day for me with all this pain in my hand from yesterday's crash. The stage was really rocky and all the impact was coming to my hand, which made it really difficult to hold the bike. I'll have them review this now and hopefully have a better stage tomorrow, Santosh said.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No. 8) said: I tried to drive safely today, especially this is the marathon stage, but I have a good feeling with the bike, so we are in a good place at the moment. I will try to increase my pace day by day without making mistakes so that the team has a good ending. AT AT