Chilecito (Argentina), Jan 18 (PTI) Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s rookie rider Oriol Mena continued his great form to finish the first leg of the marathon and the 11th stage of Dakar Rally at ninth position.Also Read - Hero MotoCorp Expands Operations In Argentina, Inaugurates New Dealership In Buenos Aires

The result placed him at 10th position in the overall rankings. Also Read - Argentina Remembers Diego Maradona One Year After His Death

Following a forgetful previous day, C S Santosh rode steadily to gain lost ground. He did well to reach the Fiambala bivouac and finish the stage at 33rd place, which takes him to the overall ranking of 34th at the end of stage 11. Also Read - Argentina vs Brazil Referee Suspended For Failing to Act on Forearm Smash By Nicolas Otamendi in WC Qualifier | Watch Video

He will be aiming to improve his rankings further in the last few remaining stages.

For the bikes, Stage 11 was the first leg of the Marathon stage as they covered a liaison of 205 kms and a special stage of 280 km to camp overnight in the Fiambala Mountains.

The stage left the riders without the assistance crew for the second time in the rally. Now, they will be left to their own devices to tend to themselves as well as their bikes. The stage challenged the riders with lots of lose sand and bit of soil.

Stage 12 will take the competitors to San Juan and one more day closer to the finish line at Cordoba but not before their physical strength and endurance is put to test with many twists and turns and stony sections.

With only 3 stages remaining now, the rally will look to get into the top gear with all competitors pushing hard to improve their positions.

Mena said: “Today was an important first leg of the Super Fiambala Marathon stage. The starting order for today was mixed with trucks and cars so it was really confusing in the beginning.

“The navigation as well was quite tough and the soft sand made it physically exhausting, making the stage feel longer than it was. But everything went very well, and the bike was working great.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.