After a Stage that was riddled with hazards, Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Joaquim Rodrigues finished Stage 5 in P22 and slipped down from P16 to P19 in the overall standings. Sebastian Buhler on the other hand, had a better day as he finished the stage in P20 and moved up from P24 to P20 in the overall standings.
Sebastian Buhler continued his consistent performance right from the start of the stage and has been gradually moving up the leaderboard. In Dakar, consistency is key when it comes to making sure that your team has a good overall performance and Buhler has delivered on that front so far. Commenting on the rather dangerous stage, Buhler said, “We had a lot of difficult conditions, a lot of rocks and a little bit of everything. But it is a good thing that we finished the stage without any crashes.”
JRod on the other hand was especially disappointed as he had had his best stage finish yet (P6) in Stage 4 and was looking forward to another good performance today to move up in the overall rankings. In the earlier part of the Stage JRod had a small crash which broke some screws that hold the navigation tower in place. As the stage went on, the tower came loose, and locked his steering. This forced him to stop and fix it. Once fixed, he said he wasn't able to concentrate, and he lost his way thrice. “ I just lost my concentration and lost my way as well. One of the times, I couldn’t even find my way back easily. After that I really couldn’t focus and I thought that the day was lost and I just wanted to bring the bike to the finish line. Lost a lot of time but I’m happy to have finished safely.” said JRod.
The team had a lot to cope with mentally as well after a mishap in yesterday’s Stage took CS Santosh out of this year’s Dakar run. Santosh is currently being treated in the Saudi German Hospital in Riyadh and as per the latest update from the team, the rider does not have any serious physical injury except for a dislocated shoulder and head trauma. The team also said that the latest scans indicate ‘no major issue that could impact his full recovery’. Since the best way to treat his head trauma is by reducing body functions, the doctors have decided to keep him in a medically induced coma and will be under observation for the next few days.
Stage 6 of the rally will take the riders from Al Qaisumah to Ha'il, a total of 618km inclusive of a timed 448km special stage. The stage is expected to have extremely fine sand which may prove to be difficult for the riders when it comes to navigating tricky dunes. It is also extremely physical as the riders have to constantly wrestle with the bike to keep it steady on the loose sand. As for the Hero MotoSports riders, Sebastian Buhler will look to keep the momentum going into the next stage whereas JRod would want to get more competitive to make up for the places lost in the overall rankings.