Dakar Rally: Oriol Mena breaks into top 20

The Hero MotoSports Team driver finished the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in the 17th position.

C. S. Santosh finished the seventh stage in the 39th position.   -  Getty Images (File Photo)

Oriol Mena finished the seventh stage of Dakar Rally in the 17th position to break into top-20 while his Hero MotoSports Team Rally team-mate C. S. Santosh finished 39th for an overall ranking of 40.

After a rest day at La Paz, the Dakar Rally went on the road again with the first Marathon stage kicking off from La Paz to Uyuni. A change in software was required for the riders as the landscape changed from sandy dunes to lot of off-piste, river beds and harder ground and the stages become longer and faster from here on.

Both Mena and Santosh tackled the stage with a steady head and arrived at the Uyuni bivouac safely, though deprived of any assistance from the team for the overnight halt as per the regulations of the marathon stage.

Read: Santosh, Mena continue good show at Dakar Rally

Stage Eight will see the rally move through to Tupiza for the second leg of the marathon stage, which will test the riders with the longest special stage of the rally, covering nearly 500 kms, including a high altitude dune crossing.

Tupiza will be the last halt for the rally in Bolivia before changing the borders again and crossing over to Argentina.