Following a much-deserved rest day that gave competitors the chance to recuperate, the 2018 Dakar Rally resumed its first Marathon stage. Making their way from La Paz to Uyuni, the landscape-shift from sand dunes to some harder terrain required a software change for the riders in Stage 7.
After an overnight halt at Uyuni without any assistance from their teams (as per the regulations of the Marathon Stage), riders had to complete a 498km run in the special stage followed by an 87km liaison section for Stage 8. The stage offered the challenge of tough high-altitude riding in the mountain sand dunes at 3,500 m above sea level.
Stage 7 saw both Hero MotoSports riders continue their steady climb up the rankings. Oriol Mena and CS Santosh made their way up to 20th and 40th overall, after the stage. Both riders delivered strong performances in Stage 8. Mena completed the stage in 12th place to grab 18th overall, and Santosh now 42nd in the overall standings after a 38th place finish in Stage 8.
Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team’s sole remaining rider, Joan Pedrero, made most of the change in terrain in Stage 7, grabbing 21st place in the stage. He got stuck in the mud 10km from the Stage 8 finish resulting in him completing the stage in 30th place. He now stands 20th, in the overall rankings.
Meanwhile, Stage 9 from Tupiza to Salta was cancelled, due to bad weather conditions.