Moquegua (Peru), Jan 12 (IANS) Seasoned rider Aravind KP is the lone Indian to survive one of the toughest stages of the ongoing 2019 Dakar Rally even as all his Sherco TVS Rally Factory teammates successfully completed the marathon Stage 5 stretching from Moquegua to Arequipa.
On Friday, Aravind showcased tremendous grit and jumped up 10 rankings to 54th position overall. His steady approach helped him navigate the tough course and maintain momentum despite a minor crash.
The stage, which was the most challenging in the Rally so far, was delayed due to heavy fog on the route. Post the initial 161 kilometres on the link route, the riders made a group start by waves of ten.
Lorenzo Santolino was the best performer from the Sherco TVS Rally Factory team and climbed to the third position in stage 5. His outstanding performance in this critical stage has pushed his overall ranking to the 11th position.
Adrien Metge went full throttle in this stage, outpacing many riders, but an unfortunate crash near the last waypoint led to loss of time thus having him complete the stage at the 16th position (overall ranking).
Michael Metge performed well to tackle the dust and fesh fesh in the special stage. He rode cautiously to reach the finish line in the 24th position (overall ranking).
Commenting on this stage, Aravind KP said: "I am delighted to reach the halfway mark of Dakar 2019 but I need to keep the momentum going as there is long way to go to the finish line."
"This stage was the toughest but having cleared it, I feel more confident to take on the second half of Dakar 2019 and make my team proud," he added.
Spaniard Lorenzo said: "I began the race with the objective to stick with the fastest riders and everything began to fall in place on its own. I completed the stage in a very competitive timing and this has given me immense confidence to push myself and my bike to maintain the momentum for the rest of the Rally."
The riders have been away from their crew and manager for the past two days. On Saturday, the team has a day to rest before Stage 6, where they will ride from Arequipa to San Juan De Marcona.