Harith Noah finishes 20th in Dakar Rally, only Indian to complete race

Sports News, National, New Delhi, January 16:-Harith Noah finished 20th in 2021 Dakar Rally as he crossed the finish line at the end of Stage 12 and became the only Indian to complete the racer. Along with Noah, there were two other Indian riders – Hero MotoSport Team Rally’s CS Santosh and Ashish Raorane. Santosh suffered crash in Stage 4 and is currently in a medically-induced coma while Roarane crashed in Stage 5 and was hospitalised but he recovered to join back the rally in Stage 9 in the Dakar Experience category, even though he won’t be eligible for ranking.

This was Noah’s second outing at Dakar and has managed to get a brilliant result in a tough rally. Noah’s 20th-place finish is the highest ranking for any Indian rider in Dakar Rally so far.

He had an impressive run through Stage 11, where he finished at the 22nd place and then, he completed the final stage in the 20th place. It was a gruelling journey that Noah completed.

Stephane Peterhansel managed Nasser Al-Attiyah on the last stage to win the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Friday, 30 years after he first won the world’s toughest rally. Peterhansel took a handy 15-minute lead into the 12th and final stage from Yanbu, and stuck close to Al-Attiyah, who gained only 40 seconds overall on the 200-kilometer (125-mile) special south to Jeddah, where the race began on January 3.

He led the race from stage two. From that day he was off the podium in a stage only once (a fourth), and paid tribute to the navigation skills of his new co-pilot Edouard Boulanger, another former motorbike race in the Dakar.

The closest Al-Attiyah got to Peterhansel overall in the second week was five minutes on Monday. He was undone by 16 punctures. The three-time champion from Qatar was runner-up for a fifth time and more disappointed than last year, when his Toyota also split the Minis of Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz., won his third stage but finished an hour back in third overall.

Of note, two-time champ Nani Roma was fifth, 2009 champ Giniel de Villiers was eighth — his 12th consecutive top 10 — and five-time motorbike champ Cyril Despres was 10th in a Peugeot while gathering data for the development of a hydrogen-powered car.

Others in the top 10 included Pablo Quintanilla of Chile who was seventh, his sixth top 10 in nine races, and 2018 champ Matthias Walkner of Austria, ninth.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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