It has been an impressive start for the team upto the end of the first half of the rally, with two very good stages from Santosh, followed by a couple of hard ones and a positive progress of Dakar rookie Mena, especially in the really tough stage 5.
In the bike class, Antoine Meo clinched his maiden stage win of this year's Dakar Rally but Monster Honda's Kevin Benavides secured the overall classification lead finishing runner-up on the sixth stage.
In the 5th stage, the organisers separated the route for the Quads/Bikes and Cars/Trucks.
This is the second casualty in the 2018 Dakar rally for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory team.
The only Indian left in the competition, Hero Motorsports' CS Santosh, finished 38th in stage 6 to hold on to his 51st position in the overall classification. Continuing to learn and improve as the race goes on, the U.S. racer is now 23rd in the rally's provisional overall standings. "He finished the stage with a 14'30" advantage over race leader Adrien Van Beveren.
It was Stage 5 victor Joan Barreda who led the bikes off the start alongside the banks of the Titicaca Lake.
Consistency the key as Giniel holds on in Dakar
Barreda is now fourth, just 7 minutes and 30 seconds out of the lead-a very manageable deficit, while teammate Benavides inched closer to the rally lead. This handed over a 40-minute rally lead to Chilean rider Ignacio Casale.
In the cars category, the big news was the exit of nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb. Yet it was an injury suffered by co-driver Daniel Elena as they descended a dune that forced Loeb to bring a premature end to his 2018 Dakar.
On the faster circuit Carlos Sainz excelled in his Peugeot so much so that he managed to win the stage.
With Peterhansel holding a comfortable lead over Sainz to top the Peugeot 1-2, Bernhard ten Brinke heads up the Toyota charge in third place but a hefty 1hr 20m41s off the leader.
In the trucks category, Russian driver Eduard Nikolaev was dominant in the fifth stage despite few problems.
Walkner is third in the general. Sherco TVS' lone surviving rider Joan Pedrero, however, led the Indian contingent as he went on to complete Stage 6 in 16th position and 15th overall.
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