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