The 2020 Dakar Rally is underway and the riders completed the second stage of the rally yesterday from Al Wajh to Neom. Stage 2 saw the competitors complete a special stage of 367 km with the terrain comprising dunes and rocky terrain along with the dust that made visibility a major issue through the course. Despite the challenging conditions, all of the Hero MotoSports and Sherco TVS riders managed to make to complete the stage with Hero's Paulo Goncalves turning out to be the fastest. The Dakar veteran finished the stage in 12th place that puts him in 14th place in overall standings. At Sherco TVS, India's Harith Noah showed fantastic progress, while Lorenzo Santolino was the fastest man in the team.
The second stage of Dakar was also the first part of the super marathon stage that meant Goncalves had just 10 minutes to work on his bike before depositing at Parc Ferme for the evening. Meanwhile, teammate managed and new recruit Sebastian Buhler finished after showing impressive pace 21st, which puts him 25th overall. India's very own CS Santosh tackled Stage 2 with an injured hand that grossly affected his speed. But the rider salvaged the day with a 53rd finish, moving down to 48th overall. After a disappointing Stage 1 where he had to step down due to mechanical issues, Joaquim Rodrigues restarted his race via the Wild Card entry in Stage 2 and finished 48th but won't be included in overall rankings.
At TVS, India's Harith Noah was the star of the day making stellar progress post the crash in Stage 1. The rider had an impressive run despite the injured that further added to the day's visibility woes and finished the day in 52nd place, having started from 120th. That put him in 65th place in the general rankings, moving up a total of 40 places. The TVS Squad continued to show the strong grit with Lorenzo Santolino finishing 19th, but is placed 23rd overall. Adrien Metge finished 20th and is 17th in the general rankings, while Johnny Aubert finished the stage 24th and is 20th place overall.
The end of stage 2 witnesses Sam Sunderland of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team at the top of the general rankings while teammate Toby Price moved down to ninth. Pablo Quintanilla of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing finished at P2 and Kevin Benavides of Monster Energy Honda Team 2020 is at P3 in the general rankings. Ross Branch of the Bas Dakar KTM Racing Team was the stage winner.
Stage 3 of the 2020 Dakar Rally will see the riders do another round of Neom covering 404 km of the special section and will take place at the highest altitude of 1400 metres, of this year's Dakar Rally.