Dakar Rally is considered to be one of the most dangerous rally race on planet earth. With a total of 9,000 km and 13 competitive stages to cover, crossing different borders to reach the final point. Dakar Rally tests the ultimate racing spirit of the best motorcycle riders around the globe. CS Santosh, supported by RedBull, became the first Indian racer ever to complete the Dakar Rally. Not only did he completed the race, but also managed to grab an overall 36th position in the Dakar 2015 despite of being seriously injured in the final stages of the race.
Commenting on his previous experience in 2015 Dakar and looking forward to the 2016 edition, CS Santosh said, “I'm looking forward to adding a second Dakar under my belt and to be competitive for a good position at the end of those 15 days racing. I am thankful to Red Bull India and Ceat Tyres, for their support and encouragement for making this adventure possible.”
The 2016 Dakar has went through some of the big changes, the race will commence from Buenos Aires and will finish in Rosario - the hometown of iconic Argentinean footballer, Lionel Messi. Peru is not included in the race this time. Making the race even tougher will be the two nights above 3,200 metres (11,000 feet). While in the 5th competitive section, the riders will have to face the highest point in the Dakar rally in South America so far which will be at 4,600 metres (over 15,000 feet).
CS Santosh will astride a Suzuki 450 Rally motorcycle and a total of 152 moto riders will come under the starter’s orders on the departure ramp at Buenos Aires. Like the previous year, CS Santosh has been allocated the number 56th which is the same that was in 2015.
The 2016 Dakar is about to begin soon and CS Santosh is all up for the new season of Dakar. We got a chance to interact with the champion personally and got a slight hint of what it takes to compete in the world’s most challenging race.
Prashant Singh: You must have ridden many adventure and off-road motorcycles till date. Which was the most fun to ride?
CS Santosh: It was KTM 1190 Adventure that I found the most fun machine to play with (showing a thumbs up). Whether its dirt, mud or anything else, Adventure 1190 surprised me the most with its immense capabilities.
PS: We all know you are training really hard for the 2016 Dakar, is there something that worries you?
CS: Well there are many unpredictable things that can happen in a race, the new season includes some of the highest passes and even if you have trained yourself at a high elevation there is no guarantee how things are going to be at the race.
PS: What changes have you brought in your overall training compared to the last season?
CS: Well I have gone through a serious endurance training to improve my strength levels and physically I am stronger than before. Dakar Rally demands an ultimate fitness level and right now I am in my fittest form.
PS: Whom do you look up to as your idol?
CS: For me, Marc Coma (KTM rider) and Barreda Joan (Honda rider) has always been one of those legends I see as my inspiration. And it is an amazing feeling to compete in the same race with them as a rival.
We wish CS Santosh all the very best for his new innings at the Dakar Rally.