Dakar 2018: Spaniard Sainz wins sixth stage

Dakar 2018: Spaniard Sainz wins sixth stage

For the first time in the rally, terrain conditions favoured the veteran Spaniard, and he stormed to the stage win between Arequipa in Peru and La Paz in Bolivia by four minutes and six seconds.

Benavides has a 1min 57sec lead over French Yamaha rider Adrien van Beveren in the overall standings.

"It was probably one of the toughest stage of the Dakar 2018 and new experience for me".

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Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) trailed Barreda by more than 28 minutes on Wednesday and tumbled to ninth place overall. "I set a blistering pace throughout the stage and it worked". I am going to attack as much as possible and make up some places. It reminded me a lot of the massive start in Le Touquet and it was great fun for me. "So, I am focused on staying positive and recovering quickly so that I can get back on the bike quickly". We proved that we have a bike capable of winning long stages.

It has been an impressive start for the team up to 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. I feel good and for me, the race starts now. We hope he will complete the rally this time too. He finished in 11th position, his best stage yet and the second occasion that he has finished a stage in top 15. Argentina's Kevin Benevides was in second place, a minute behind the leader. "Now we have about 450 kms to make it to the Bivouac at Arequipa and it will be another day in the bag". The former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager, who was making his debut in the rally, felt back pains after his vehicle crashed against a sand dune in the fourth stage. Today's stage was dominated by Honda rider Joan Barreda Bort. Despite the fall in stage 4, today's performance helped him gain 5 positions overnight, taking him to the overall ranking of 51st at the end of stage 5. I was feeling a bit exhausted in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. The bikers will have to change software and get ready for long stretches of good navigation before they hit the sand dunes at a high altitude. I'm back in the top 10 and, although the deficit is still big, I'm sure I'll find an opening. Unfortunately it wasn't there. Tracks from yesterday and today made it even worse for the navigation. I was feeling a bit exhausted in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage.

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