Harith Noah becomes the first Indian to win a stage at Dakar
Indian rider Harith Noah has showcased a string of strong performances in the 2024 Dakar, consistently moving up from 29th where he finished in the Prologue. Now, Harith sits at 13th overall after Stage 8 and 3rd in Rally 2. Earlier in Stage 3 this year, Harith finished third in the Rally 2 class, becoming the first Indian to ever get a podium at Dakar. Going a step further, Harith won stage 8 in the Rally 2 class today, becoming the first Indian to ever win at Dakar.
In Stage 7, Harith finished 16th in the stage despite suffering from a cold. Today, feeling better, the Sherco TVS Rally Factory rider posted the best in-class time at the first checkpoint itself. The competition was close behind, as the top six riders were all within a minute of each other. By 111km, the lead had gone to Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing Team), but Harith was close behind. Harith took back the lead for the final time at the 165km mark, while he was running 10th overall and less than seven minutes behind the overall stage leader Ricky Brabec. After that, Harith led his class till the finish, finishing 11th amongst all competing bikes, seven minutes and nine seconds behind overall winner Kevin Benavides of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team. With this, Harith also climbed to third place in the overall Rally 2 standings, sitting 8min 52sec behind Romain Dumontier (Team Dumontier Racing).
Originally hailing from Shoranur in Kerala, Harith was born in Germany and is currently racing in his fifth Dakar Rally. Harith finished the 2021 season of the Dakar in 20th position outdoing any Indian rider to ever race in the Dakar. The next two years didn’t go so well for the 29-year-old including a scary crash in 2023, where he fractured the fifth thoracic vertebrae (T5) of his spine. But it seems like he has learnt from his mistakes. Racing for the Petronas TVS Factory Racing Team, Harith won the 2023 TransAnatolia Rally. Harith has been very consistent this season as well and with 4 stages still to go, there is still time in Dakar, enough for Harith to bag some more accolades.