The stage-3 originally consisted of a 223 km timed section, mostly on the sandy off-piste terrain. However, due to bad weather conditions, it was decided to stop the rally at the second checkpoint to ensure the safety of competitors.
CS Santosh continued to enjoy a fruitful maiden outing in Merzouga Rally, finishing a strong 15th with a time of 4hr41m12s. The Indian has dropped to 19th in the overall standings, still maintaining his top 20 momenta.
Amid difficult weather conditions, Hero MotoSport rider and Santosh teammate Joaquim Rodrigues suffered a minor crash, which lost him crucial time.However, Rodrigues was able to make it to the very end of the stage, recovering some lost ground in the process to finish 11th.
At the front, Honda’s Kevin Benavides topped stage three to move up to third in the standings, behind rally leader Stefan Svitko and stage two winner Helder Rodrigues.