Cordoba (Argentina), Jan 20 (PTI) Hero MotoSports team’s rookie rider Oriol Mena is on course for a memorable finish in the gruelling Dakar Rally as he finished at eighth spot overall at the end of the 13th and penultimate stage here.Also Read - Hero MotoCorp Expands Operations In Argentina, Inaugurates New Dealership In Buenos Aires

Mena handled the pressure well and inched closer to his debut Dakar finish with an eighth place finish in Stage 13. In overall rankings also, he stands at eighth position among the bikers. Also Read - Argentina Remembers Diego Maradona One Year After His Death

Mena’s team-mate and ace Indian rider C S Santosh also held his nerves to finish the penultimate stage at 33rd position. In overall rankings, Santosh stands at 34th position. Now, only the last hurdle remains between him and his third Dakar finish. Also Read - Argentina vs Brazil Referee Suspended For Failing to Act on Forearm Smash By Nicolas Otamendi in WC Qualifier | Watch Video

The penultimate stage of the Dakar Rally brought the competitors from San Juan to Cordoba, covering a total distance of 907 km, including a special stage of 424 km.

Both the riders of Hero MotoSports Team Rally were cautious during the stage, aiming to bring the bikes back home without any untoward incidents, just one day before the final stage.

Stage 13 of the Dakar Rally offered the last taste of the dunes at San Juan and a fesh-fesh area around the famous WRC mountain-pists in Cordoba, which tested the riders’ nerves.

Moving on, the final stage — Stage 14 — will be contested in Cordoba itself, where the riders will need to keep focus as they cross last 30 kms of the Rally.

“It was a good day for me. I rode safe and made no mistakes. My rankings have been improving and I am first in the rookie class as of now, but we will see the final results after tomorrow’s finish. Important thing is to make it to the finish line at Cordoba tomorrow,” Mena said after the race.

“Today was the last big stage of the Dakar with a long liaison and special. You think it is going to get easier towards the end, but it does not. The first 100 km was very hard but the second half was really nice and fast. I had a lot of fun today on my bike, as I tried to go as fast I could and enjoy the end of the Rally. Tomorrow we bring it home,” Santosh said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.