Pisco (Peru), Jan 17 (IANS) Seasoned Indian rider Aravind KP successfully overcame issues with his bike before completing the penultimate Stage 9 of the ongoing Dakar Rally at overall 39th position even as the Sherco TVS Rally team celebrated their top rider Michael Metge’s triumph in the stage.
Aravind got off to a blazing start taking the lead for the first 190 kilometres before facing bike issues in the middle. After some help, he however completed the stage successfully.
Commenting on his stage, Aravind said: “It was a mixed day for me but that’s what Dakar is about. I started really well taking the lead in the mass start. But things changed halfway, when my bike had some issues.”
“These were tense moments as I wanted to complete the stage at any cost. Thank God for the local help who assisted me in restarting the bike and finish the stage. This is the spirit of Dakar and I am lucky to have experienced it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Michael dominated Wednesday’s stage that passed another loop in Pisco, full of tricky sand dunes, the ones that had resulted in many key riders quitting the rally in Stage 2.
Michael’s overall ranking is now at 22nd and he intends to finish this edition of Dakar with another dominating performance. The stage saw a mass start in waves of 10 like the first marathon stage.
Michael’s teammate and brother Adrien Metge was more cautious in his approach due to physical strain and he finished at 20th position. He is right behind Michael in the overall rankings at 23rd.
The team dedicated Michael’s win to their star rider Lorenzo Santolino, who had to retire due to a crash in Stage 6.
Commenting on his win, Michael said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win a stage at Dakar. The stage was challenging as there were lots of dunes and fesh-fesh. I started in the second line at the wave start and I pushed all the way through the stage.”
“Soon I caught up with the first riders and I went past the leader quite quickly. Full credit to the team mechanics for preparing my bike, which has been performing beautifully in the sand dunes. I dedicate this win to my wife and 2 children, who are my pillars of support,” he added.
The team will ride back from Pisco to Lima in Stage 10, which will be a 358 kilometres journey.