Dakar Rally 2019: Aravind KP completes Stage 9

Aravind becomes the second Indian rider after C.S. Santosh to complete the rally.

Aravind had failed to complete the rally in 2018 due to an injury.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Indian rider Aravind KP overcame issues with his bike to complete the penultimate Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally in Peru on Thursday. He finished at overall 39th position to become the second Indian to finish the rally.

C.S. Santosh was the first Indian rider to compete in Dakar in 2015. He had finished 36th.

Last year, C.S. Santosh had become the first Indian to complete the rally raid thrice.

Aravind got off to a good start. After leading for the first 190 kilometres, a mechanical glitch in the vehicle pushed him back.

He, however, completed the stage successfully.

“I am overjoyed. I don’t have words to explain. I am overwhelmed with how the day has been. It was the shortest stage but it was longest for me. I was counting every kilometre. I was hoping to get to the finish line.

“I had really worked hard. I came in with a lot of setbacks but I turned it around with a positive attitude. I gave all that I had. I saved myself, so that I can work hard and come back to do better,” he said.

Aravind had failed to complete the rally in 2018 due to an injury. He augmented his recovery with physical and motorcycle training in India and France.

Dune specialist Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar bagged his third stage win this year. He will be hitting the final stage with a lead of 51 minutes.