Hero MotoSports' Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues successfully completed the seventh stage of the the Dakar Rally 2019 as they continue their strong performances in the second half of the rally.
A total of 387 kilometers were run during the stage, with 323 kilometers constituting the special.
Oriol Mena finished the stage in 13th position, allowing him to retain the same position in the overall rankings. Feeling better with improvement in the condition of his injured hand and knee from the previous stage, he pushed hard in the initial part of the stage but then eased off a bit as the conditions turned windy and dusty due to storms in the desert.
Joaquim Rodrigues, who received a 40 minute penalty late in the evening yesterday for missing a waypoint during Stage 6, also ran steadily and finished at 11th. It enabled him to climb up a couple of positions from his post-penalty position of 26th overnight and finish 24th in the overall rankings.
Battling the dust, wind and poor visibility, Rodrigues exercised caution to avoid unnecessary mistakes and brought home a fine stage finish. Showing exemplary sportsmanship he stopped to help Michael Metge from Sherco TVS who had run out of fuel.
"It was quite a difficult stage today with the weather conditions not good for riding. It was a fast stage and we passed a lot of completely ruined tracks from the previous stage. The sandstorm in the desert was terrible and made it difficult to see anything beyond the bike, making the navigation really tricky. Just before the finish, Michael Metge ran out of fuel so I tried to push his bike to the finish line. I am happy to finish this stage. The bike is performing well and we will see how it goes from here," said Rodrgues.
Stage 8 will take the Rally back to Pisco and where it will be based for the next two stages before the final push to Lima.