The Dakar bit hard over its opening stages, with American driver Bryce Menzies crashing out in his Mini; former Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver Yazeed Al Rahji losing time after a mid-stage crash with another competitor; and Nani Roma rolling his Mini near the end of Stage 3. Quintanilla had opened up a handy lead over Sunderland, Benevides, Soultrait and Price by CP6, the second-last checkpoint, but lost six minutes on the final stretch to drop to fifth by the finish. Mena will get a time refund for the gesture, which should improve his rankings further.
"They navigated really well so most of the time we followed the lines of the bikers. we did not drive the stage on full attack, just with a good speed".
Santosh was 30 km short of finish due to a loose fuel cap and as a result, he slipped down in the rankings.
"We also had to stop to help a few of our team-mates and rivals who had problems and rolled, and also pulled a few cars back onto their wheels over the past two days, but that's all part of Dakar". I had no issues with the navigation as well.
The nine-time World Rally Champion led for the majority of the 330km special stage which looped around San Juan de Marcona to eventually see off Carlos Sainz by 1m35s for the stage victory, while overall leader Peterhansel in third ended the day 3m16s off of Loeb. Unlucky for me, the rear tank cap was not closed properly after re-fuelling and I lost my rear tank fuel before I realized it.
"We are quite happy to finish. tomorrow we'll have a better road". In the process, I lost over an hour's time today.
Meanwhile, things remained largely positive at team Sherco TVS. "If we start in a good position, it will be no problem, I think". Teammate Joan Pedrero, on the other hand, made excellent progress in Stage 3 finishing in 17th place and now sits behind Mena in overall standings at 20th.
The Rally will camp in San Juan De Marcona for the 4th Stage as well, where a change in the landscape at the start is expected to provide a new challenge to the riders but not before hitting dunes again for total run of 444 kms including the liaison. KTM rider Sam Sunderland continues to lead the moto category of 2018 Dakar and is about 13 minutes faster than Mena and Pedrero.