Spain’s Oriol Mena continued his good run to take the ninth position in the overall rankings as the 41st Dakar Rally concluded here on Friday.
The main aim in the final stage was to bring home the bike safely across the finish line. Mena took the 17th spot, and his Hero MotoSports team-mate Joaquim Rodrigues took the 12th spot. In the overall rankings, the gulf was bigger; Rodrigues took the 17th spot.
With it, the team managed its third successful finish at the rally. Its riders have arrived at the finishing line in all the three years it has participated in the competition. Mena also gave the team its second top-10 finish in a row.
Mena put up an excellent show throughout the rally. His sporting acumen and temperament was on display once again on Friday as he got through the stages in a nearly flawless fashion while some of the more experienced and exalted peers faltered now and then. With this performance, Mena’s reputation has risen from being the “Best Rookie of the Dakar” last year to being one of the “Heroes of the Dakar” this year.
‘Lots of ups and downs’
“What a Dakar this has been. Lots of ups and downs, even the very last stage was quite tough. I think it was a better Dakar for me this time as we went through some amazing stages and terrains. I’m really happy that I could finish in the top 10 again,” Mena said.
Rodigues ensured that his comeback, after the crash last year, was a successful one. He put on a gritty show, fighting his old injuries and battling the new challenges. His performance reinforces his status as an upcoming star in the near future.
Meanwhile, Sherco TVS Racing’s K. P. Aravind became the only Indian to finish the rally — he took the 37th spot. He had a steady start in the early stages, before picking up his pace and climbing up the rankings. Despite a few crashes during the intermediate stages, he fought hard.
B. Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing, said, “It is a red letter day in the history of TVS Racing and we are honoured to be a part of this success story.”
Aravind's team-mates Michael Metge and Adrien Metge took the 25th and 22nd positions, respectively.
The Dakar Rally came to a final halt in the seaside district of Magdalena in Lima. The triumphant parade and celebrations marked the end of what has been one of the toughest editions yet.