For the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team it was a memorable day at the Dakar 2019 as its top rider Michael Metge won the penultimate stage. Michael dominated the stage on Thursday ahead of all the top 10 riders as he pushed himself right from the start. The team dedicates this stage win to team-mate Lorenzo Santolino, who had to retire due to a crash in Stage VI. Michael’s overall ranking is now at 22nd and he intends to finish Dakar with another dominating performance.
The stage saw a mass start in waves of 10 like the first marathon stage. The riders had to ride through another loop in Pisco, full of tricky sand dunes, the ones that had resulted many key riders to quit the rally in Stage II.
Michael’s team-mate 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. India’s Aravind KP got off to a blazing start taking the lead for the first 190 kilometres. KP faced bike issues in the middle of the stage but thanks to some help, he was able to complete the stage. His overall ranking stays at 39th position.
Michael says, “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win a stage at Dakar. The stage was challenging as there was 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.”
Aravind KP says, “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.”
The team will ride back from Pisco to Lima in Stage X, which will be a 358 kilometres journey.
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