Santosh, Mena continue good show at Dakar Rally

Sainz trims Peterhansel's lead with first Dakar stage win

The second stage brought some bad news for TVS Sherco, with French rider Metge involved in an accident that saw him suffer a broken ankle. Barreda's teammate, Kevin Benavides of Argentina, finished third in Stage 4, 12 minutes and 20 seconds behind Barreda. Quintanilla was able to fix the issue and cross the line with the 16th fastest time, 28 minutes and 52 seconds behind Barreda, dropping him down to ninth place overall, 16 minutes and 12 seconds out of the lead.

Barreda finished the route between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa more than 10 minutes faster than Austrian rider Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM), climbing nine spots in the general ranking.

Spaniard Mena continued his solid run to finish the sixth stage at 23rd position and an overall 21st place. The next stage will move the rally from La Paz on 13th January for its 1st marathon stage of 425 km to Uyuni.

"The rain made life harder for the competitors".

Pedrero sustained his improvement from the previous stage, ending stage four in 17th position as well. As was noticed by team manager David Casteau, the Spaniard attacked the leading pack in the soft sand while choosing wisely to back off in other demanding stretches.

The next stage will see the rally change countries to enter into Bolivia making its first halt at La Paz - the world's highest capital city.

"The day was tough", Brabec said.

Friday is a rest stage in La Paz. TVS Sherco's star rider Joan Pedrero Garcia is now 15th in the overall classification, trailing leader Kevin Benavides of Argentina by 53 minutes and 26 seconds, having accrued only one penalty of one minute so far.

While competitors put the rigors of the Peruvian desert behind them with the end of Wednesday's stage, they will now have to contend with the challenge of high altitude in Bolivia.

The organisers also separated the route for the quads and bikes in the 5th stage. Benavides is in second place overall, just 1 minute behind AVB, while Walkner is holding fast in third place, just another 14 seconds adrift of Benavides, making the 2018 Dakar Rally a real battle at the front. "There was a lot of sand dunes again, and the first special was really good for me with a lot of tracks to follow".

Meo won the stage by thirty seconds from Benavides, but with overnight leader Adrien van Beveren finishing down in eighth, three minutes and twenty-seven seconds off the pace, it meant the Frenchman dropped behind Benavides in the overall standings by one minute and fifty-seven seconds heading into Friday's rest day.

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