Historic Stage win for Harith Noah in Rally2 class at Dakar Rally
HA’IL — Indian motorcycle rider Harith Noah created history on Monday by becoming the first from India to win a Stage in any class at the prestigious Dakar Rally as he won the 678-km Stage 8 in the Rally2 category for Bikes, here on Monday.
Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team rider thus improved on his own 2021 record of finishing in 20th place (P20) with an overall 11th position (P11) in Stage 8
The 30-year Kerala rider covered the technically challenging stage of 458-km Special and 220-km Liaison from Al Duwadimi to Hail in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds on Monday.
Harith Noah was third overall in the general ranking for the Rally2 class while he is in Overall P13 after eight stages in the general ranking.
On Monday, he finished Stage 8 in a creditable P11, just 07 minutes and 09 seconds behind the overall leader in the bikes section. Four more days are left in the gruelling Dakar 2024 edition which concludes on January 19.
Harith Noah, the rider from Shoranur in Kerala, thus became the fastest rider from India in the Dakar Rally history with 11th place in Stage 8. With four more days to go, he is taking it day by day to keep his cool to complete his fifth attempt successfully.
Harith became the fastest at Dakar in 2021 when he completed the tough rally in 20th place, beating the Indian record of pioneer CS Santosh’s P36-finish.
In this edition, he also got a top-3 finish in Rally2 class in Stage 3.
Thankfully for the riders, Stage 8 at Dakar lessened the intensity a little with the 458-km timed special split into two sections, a 179-km Liaison joining the two very different halves.
The first leg consisted mainly of sandy tracks and dunes, but the second was more challenging with stones and rocks covering much of the final 119 km leading to the finish in Ha’il.
“Felt good on the bike and my sickness is getting better too. I guess everything feels good when you do good. I am focused on navigation and am pushing when comfortable. I lost some time trying to find the way in the second part. Tomorrow is another day and the Dakar is far from over,” said Harith Noah from Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on Sunday in Stage 7, Noah finished an Overall general ranking of P13 and P5 in his class, Rally2 despite being troubled by running nose throughout the day. On Tuesday, Stage 9 would be from Ha’il to Al Ula.