After good progress in the first and second stages, the Indian racing outfits, especially TVS' Dakar rookie Harith Noah and Hero's frontrunner Paulo Goncalves, faced a significant challenge in Stage 3 of the 2020 Dakar Rally.
It turned out to be a day of mixed results for Indian rally teams in the 2020 Dakar Rally. On one hand, TVS' Adrien Metge (#11) continued his stellar run and managed to climb up from 16th to 12th place in the overall classifications after Stage 3. His teammate Lorenzo Santolino (#24) also followed suit and went up from yesterday's 22nd place to 16th in the overall results. This now puts him two places ahead of Sherco-TVS rider Johnny Aubert (#20), who continues to hold on to 18th place (overall). On the other hand, TVS' Dakar rookie, Harith Noah (#83), fell victim to a health issue, which ruled him out of Stage 3 even before it began. Luckily, he'll be able to continue the rally in the coming days, but his stage results won't be counted in the overall title contention, meaning that he'll only earn experience from his maiden Dakar outing.
Meanwhile, the other Indian rally outfit, Hero Motosports, suffered a major setback during Stage 3, as their frontrunner, Paulo Goncalves, got delayed by the engine failure early in the stage. A six-hour delay in getting a new engine meant his title hopes are over as well. Like Noah, it seems like Paulo too will only walk away with experience once the rally is completed. As for the remaining Hero riders, Sebastian Buhler (#32) & CS Santosh (#50) both managed to improve their overall positions, with Buhler getting up to 23rd (from 25th) and Santosh managing to reach to 44th (up from 48th).
In the overall rankings (Bikes), Honda's Ricky Brabec & Kevin Benavides emerged as the top-two riders. While Benavides was in third overall after Stage 2, Brabec worked his way up impressively after falling behind a few places post Stage 1. The top three for the day were rounded off by Red Bull KTM's Matthias Walkner.
In the car category, the top three drivers remain unchanged after Stage 3. The only difference - X-Raid MINI driver Orlando Terranova, who had been leading overall after Stage 2, is now third after Stage 3 while Carlos Sainz Sr. (JCW X-Raid) has taken the overall lead. Toyota Gazoo driver Nasser Al-Attiyah has also gone up a place, from third to second. After dealing with a ripped-off left-front wheel during Stage 2, F1 champion Fernando Alonso pushed incredibly hard to finish Stage 3 in fourth place. This pushed up his overall ranking to 32nd from 48th.
Overall classification after Stage 3 (Bikes):
1st - Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda)
2nd - Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda)
3rd - Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM)
12th - Adrien Metge (Sherco TVS)
16th - Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco TVS)
18th - Johnny Aubert (Sherco TVS)
23rd - Sebastian Bühler (Hero MotoSports)
44th - CS Santosh (Hero MotoSports)
Overall classification after Stage 3 (Cars):
1st - Carlos Sainz Sr. (Bahrain JCW X-Raid)
2nd - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
3rd - Orlando Terranova (X-Raid MINI JCW)