Dakar 2021: Flat out Stage 3 sees Hero MotoSports riders close gap to leaders
Stage 3 of Dakar 2021, the first of only two looped stages in the entire Dakar route this year, took place in Wadi Ad-Dawasir, the entry to the Empty Quarter, situated just outside of the capital city of Riyadh. Fast and sandy, the stage saw the Hero MotoSports riders stretch the legs on the new Hero 450 Rally, and close the gap to the leaders. Joaquim Rodrigues finished the stage in 20th place, just 17m 28s behind the lead rider, with Sebastian Buhler close in tow in 21st spot, less than half a minute behind.
CS Santosh finished the stage in 36th, just under 31 minutes from the lead rider, and moves up a couple of spots in the overall standings to 34th. JRod continues his run in the top 20, with an overall rank at 19th position, while Buhler is at 24th overall.
"Today was a lonely stage for me as I was riding alone for most part of it. It was quite windy as well and the tracks kept getting covered so I decided to slow down and concentrate on my navigation. Overall, I am happy to get my bike to the finish safely and see the back of one more stage.", said Joaquim Rodrigues on his 20th spot finish, showing that in the right conditions there's even more speed to be had.
Competitors will head back towards civilisation on Stage 4, which terminates at Riyadh. While the special stage is said to be a relatively easy one, to let competitors have some fun, the 337km competitive section along with the 476km of transport makes for the longest stage in the Dakar.