The third stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally saw the riders taking a second loop around Neom in the 404 km special stage. The second part of the marathon stage saw the riders negotiate with sand dunes, canyons and mountains, while riding at an altitude of 1400 metres, the highest in the rally this year. The third stage saw a major shift in positions for both Hero and Sherco TVS riders. Having led the Indian squad for the first two stages, Hero's Paulo Goncalves developed a mechanical issue just 30 km from the finish line and dropped down to 110th overall. However, the rider completing the stage was nothing short of a miracle as he had to replace the engine on his motorcycle all by himself and had to wait about five and half hours till the parts needed were made available to him by competitor Antonio Cabini driving a truck (No. 536).
By the end of the day, Goncalves made it to the finish in the dark through the desert. Nevertheless, the rider survived to continue his run till the end of the rally. Meanwhile, Hero teammate Sebastian Buhler managed to keep the flag high for the team and finished the stage 20th, which brings him to 23rd overall in the general standings. For India's CS Santosh, the day was a tough one and saw the rider make it to the finish line in 50th place, moving up to 44th overall. Joaquim Rodrigues or J-Rod managed to improve his pace dramatically over the previous day to finish 31st in the stage but isn't eligible for overall rankings. He is still competing in the Experience category.
At Sherco TVS Rally Team, Adrien Metge was the fastest man today and finished the stage 11th, and is placed 12th overall. Teammate Lorenzo Santolino finished 13th and is placed 16th in the general standings. Johnny Aubert finished 21st at the end of the day and is now placed 18th at the end of Stage 3. For Indian rider Harith Noah, the rider faced a mechanical issue before the start of the stage and could not get his RTR 450 to start. This puts him out of contention overall but he still gets to compete in the Experience category and will get stage wins but not an overall ranking. It is really unfortunate to see the India rider not be able to compete for the title, especially after an incredible start in the first two stages.
The riders will now move to Al-Ula for a 676 km for Stage 4 that includes 453 km of the special stage.