Stay Duned!

A rookie, an In­dian and two broth­ers team up to put on a stel­lar show

Evo India - - RACE REPORT - WORDS by MANAAL MAHATME PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by TVS RAC­ING

THE 41ST EDI­TION OF Dakar was filled with the edge-of-the-seat ac­tion with 70 per cent of the race con­sist­ing of dunes in Peru. This year, the four Sherco TVS rid­ers put on a great show and of great pride to us in In­dia, TVS Rac­ing’s Aravind KP fin­ished the world’s tough­est rally, mak­ing him only the sec­ond In­dian to do so. Dakar rookie, Lorenzo San­tolino, who got a di­rect en­try into the rally af­ter his In­dia Baja win made a strong de­but while Adrien and Michael Metge put in stel­lar per­for­mances.

Though Aravind didn’t have a great start and fin­ished the first stage at 71st po­si­tion ow­ing to dif­fi­cul­ties in nav­i­gat­ing the stage, over the course of the next stage he man­aged to make up con­sid­er­able time for a 61st place fin­ish. How­ever, he lost pace again dur­ing the third stage, drop­ping down to 81st po­si­tion af­ter get­ting a sixminute penalty. In the 511km marathon stage, Aravind man­aged to fin­ish at 78th po­si­tion and post that, Aravind kept im­prov­ing con­sis­tently and by the end of the eighth stage was at the 39th po­si­tion. Af­ter fac­ing me­chan­i­cal is­sues, Aravind com­pleted the ninth stage at 55th po­si­tion and com­pleted the fi­nal stage at 42nd po­si­tion, mak­ing him 37th on the leader­board. A top 40 fin­ish on his sec­ond Dakar out­ing marked a great re­turn to form for Aravind who has been bat­tling in­juries sus­tained over past edi­tions of this gru­elling event.

Rookie Lorenzo San­tolino was lead­ing the as­sault for the Sherco TVS team and his best time was on the fifth stage where he fin­ished in third po­si­tion. How­ever on the 6th stage, he suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries in a crash and was air­lifted.

With Lorenzo out of the race, it was up to the Metge broth­ers to keep the Sherco TVS flag high and boy they did! Michael had a strong start from the first stage it­self where he clocked the 12th fastest time but af­ter fac­ing a fuel out­age in the sec­ond stage he dropped to 69th. His best was how­ever saved for the last and on the penul­ti­mate stage, Michael clocked the fastest stage time, putting Sherco TVS on top of the leader­board. He fin­ished the rally in 25th po­si­tion.

Adrien Metge had his ups and downs through the rally but was the best fin­isher for Sherco TVS in 22nd. Af­ter fin­ish­ing the first stage at 24th po­si­tion, Adrien jumped to 15th on the sec­ond stage. De­spite los­ing his way in the third stage, he fin­ished in 18th while in the marathon stage he dropped to 21st where the rid­ers bat­tled very dif­fi­cult fesh-fesh and dunes. Bat­tling phys­i­cal strain, Adrien fin­ished the ninth stage at 20th and rose back to the 13th in the con­clud­ing stage of the Dakar. ⌧

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