Australia's Toby Price was third on the stage. We wish the Indian rider a speedy recovery and we are sure he will be back stronger for next year's race. "Before the re-fuelling station I had slight problem and lost a few minutes there but happy that I finished today and now have one day less to arrive at Cordoba". Teammate and Dakar rookie Oriol Mena did considerably better finishing the stage in 23rd place and 21st overall.
Van Beveren took advantage of his starting position within the second wave of riders in the mass-style start, and he navigated the sand well to finish the 330-kilometer special stage that was part of the loop bear San Juan de Marcona with a time of 4 hours, 8 minutes and 23 seconds, 5 minutes and 1 second ahead of de Soultrait. Competitors were challenged by the tricky canyons in the first 40 km of the stage made only tougher by the dunes that followed. A stage with the longest stretch of sand dunes lasting for up to 100 kms was negotiated well by team TVS, with the riders working hard to get past the dunes and the rocks. The competitors now get a much-deserved rest day on 12th January, to rest their exhausted and bruised bodies and minds before the second leg of the rally kicks off.
The organisers also separated the route for the quads and bikes in the 5th stage. Unfortunately, we're down to five Bike entrants, as Bryce Menzies, our sole auto competitor, cartwheeled his MINI vehicle in glorious fashion at the beginning of Stage 2.
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Meanwhile, Aravind KP is recovering from his nasty crash of Stage 5. Aravind KP put in another good performance and improved his position by 10, ending the stage in 30th place, impressing everyone with his handling of the bike.
The French ace's hopes of adding a Dakar to his nine world rally championship crowns at the third attempt had appeared encouraging after climbing to second in the standings. "We did stay in the top 20 but fell back a little in general".
The rally leaves Peru and enters Bolivia on Thursday, bound to the country's capital La Paz. This stage onwards, the rally will step up to become faster as it leaves the sands behind to tackle the Bolivian Altiplano at the altitude of 2500m and above.
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