C S Santosh has finished day five of the 2017 Dakar, describing the dunes in Bolivia as, “the hardest ever”. However it was a much better day overall for the Hero MotoSports rider who didn’t miss any way points and also made up places to finish 71st overall.
“Today was much better day for me. Loosing way points is not the way to do it. Today I collected all way points and I’m happy about it.” He missed two way points on day four, one of which was an important one that had an hour’s penalty if you missed it. In total he got slapped with one hour and thirty minutes of time penalties dropping him even further down the order and compounding an already difficult day.
Day 5 was not much easier. “First part of the stage was incredibly hard. There was so much talk of the dunes and those dunes were the hardest ever. It’s incredible! I took my own time. I stopped couple of times, got lost a couple of times in the beginning. After that first bit the stage, the rest was really nice and fast and I enjoyed all that. I made up a few places and am still in the race so we will see what happens.”
It’s not only the dunes but as the Dakar goes into Bolivia, it also climbs in altitude. The bivouac at Tupiza is almost as high as Kaza, one of the camps on the Raid-de-Himalaya and though oxygen is not as rare nor is it as dry as Ladakh, engines are still losing power and everybody is feeling the effects of altitude. “The bike was struggling and so was the human being. I took a couple of minutes every now and then just to catch my breath because I dropped the bike a couple of times.”
I ask Santosh if the Dakar is getting harder and harder. “Yeah, I don’t know what they have in store for us tomorrow.”