Arequipa (Peru), Jan 10 (PTI) Hero MotorSports’ Oriol Mena displayed brilliant biking skills to finish the difficult third stage at an impressive eighth spot to climb to overall 12th position even as his teammates CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues struggled at the 41st Dakar Rally here.Also Read - Farah Khan Tests Positive For Coronavirus Despite Being Double Vaccinated, Says 'I Didn't Put My Kaala Teeka'

Hero MotorSports had a mixed day in office on Wednesday as both Santosh and Rodrigues encountered setbacks throughout the course of the third stage of the world’s most gruelling off-road rally. Also Read - Highlights India vs England 1st Test, Day 1: Bumrah, Shami Dominate as India Take Opening Day's Honours

The third stage of the Dakar 2019 from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa turned out to be a surprise for most top teams as it turned the overall standings upside down with many top contenders across bikes and cars losing their way. Also Read - Mumbai Rains: Death Toll Rises to 31 in Landslide, House-collapse Incidents; NDRF Ends Search & Rescue Ops

But not for classy Mena, who had a brilliant stage to gain a few positions in the overall standings.

While Mena finished the stage at eight spot, Rodrigues and India’s Santosh were placed 46th and 64th respectively.

In the overall rankings after the end of third stage, Mena is currently placed at 12th position, while Rodrigues stands at 31st place and Santosh at 42nd place.

While Rodrigues lost some time in the beginning of the stage and then at a tricky waypoint, Santosh met with a few crashes and also lost time around the same waypoint.

But both Rodrigues and Santosh fought their way to make it to the finish line and successfully completed the stage on a day that witnessed a few big riders throwing in their towel to bow out of the competition.

Next, the rally will move to the marathon stage, where no assistance is allowed overnight and the riders will be left with their own devices and faculties to manage their bikes and themselves.

Mena said he just tried to be over cautious as the stage was a really challenging one.

“It was a really tough stage, the kind that we know Dakar for. Conditions were difficult with lot of fog in the mountains and many stones. The navigation also was quite tricky,” the Spaniard said.

“So I decided to ride with caution, trying to avoid any mistakes and managed to catch all the waypoints.” Santosh blamed a wrong set of glasses for his disappointing outing in the third stage.

“It was an extremely difficult stage, throwing a fair share of challenges. I had the wrong lens on for today’s stage and it set me up for the struggle for most of the first part. So I decided to ride without my goggles, which was really difficult to do.

“I had a few crashes, lost my way around a waypoint, so in all a very tough day,” he said.

The other Indian interest in this year’s Dakar, Aravind Prabhakar of TVS Racing finished stage 3 at the 73rd spot and is currently lying 58th in the overall standings.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.