After 14 grueling days, the high-attrition 2018 Dakar Rally finally came to an end with a concluding 120km run around Cordoba – the shortest stage of the rally since the opener.
Hero Motosports’ Oriol Mena capped off his impressive Dakar debut with a strong sixth place finish in Stage 14. He finished the rally seventh overall, giving Hero its first top-10 Dakar result. “I enjoyed the last stage a lot and it felt as if these 120km were longer than my life. I aim at the finish line and have also won in the rookie class, so it’s a really good result,” said Mena.
CS Santosh took his best Dakar finish yet, classifying 34th in the overall standings. This makes him the only Indian rider to have finished the Dakar Rally thrice. Commenting on his Dakar journey his year, Santosh said: “I had lots of ups and downs, some high points in the beginning, and then some lows as well. I think it was everything that you would envision a Dakar to be. My best Dakar so far, so I am really happy to be going home with that.”
Despite Adrien Metge and Aravind KP’s early retirement, Sherco-TVS completed the rally in high spirits with Joan Pedrero 11th in the overall classification.
55-year-old Carlos Sainz clinched his second Dakar title, with a 44-minute lead over second-placed Nasser Al-Attiyah.