Following the Hero MotoSports CS Santosh crashing out of Stage 5, the Indian contingent has received its next casualty with Sherco TVS rider Lorenzo Santolino crashing out of the 2019 Dakar Rally in Stage 6. The rookie rider had a brilliant run so far in the rally finishing as high as third at the end of Stage 5 and 11th overall. However, the young Spaniard crashed in the first part of Stage 6, 33 km into the special and was airlifted to Lima for better medical support. The rider has suffered cranial trauma but fortunately has no broken bones. Santolinos RTR 450 was airlifted to the finish line.

Meanwhile, Indias Aravind KP moved up the ranks with a steady pace throughout Stage 6 overcoming the road book navigation challenges. Aravind finished the day in 48th place overall, moving up 54th at the end of Stage 5. Aravind KP said, "I had a good start to the stage with a good rhythm on my motorcycle. But soon the roadbook machine on my motorcycle stopped working and so I had to scroll manually. This broke my rhythm and I had a few minor crashes. It was a challenging day for sure but I am glad to have this stage in the bag."

Riders Adrien Metge and Michael Metge showed impressive teamwork during Stage 6 after the former faced mechanical issues but was assisted by the latter to complete the stage. Adrien finished the stage in 71st place and is now 33rd overall, while Michael finished in 64th place and is in 36th position in general classification.

Commenting on this stage, Sherco TVS - Team Manager, David Casteu said, "It was a challenging day for us. Our fastest rider Lorenzo is out of the rally, which is a setback for the team. He showed great promise in the first half of the rally and was the fastest beating even experienced riders. We wish him a speedy recovery. I am confident that our other three riders - Adrien, Michael and Aravind will be able to get a good finish for the team. The crew is ready to support them in all possible ways for the challenges that lie ahead."

The 2019 Dakars Stage 6 started from Camana to San Juan de Marcona for a total run of 316 km, with 177 km of liasion. About three-quarters of the day was on sandy terrain, while the four dune sectors turned out to be the major challenge for riders. About 74 per cent of Dakar participants have managed to reach the halfway point of the rally, its lowest yet since 2007.

At Hero MotoSports Rally Team, Stage 6 saw Oriol Mena in the lead despite having suffered a major crash in Stage 5. The rider was far more cautious on his ride but ran out of fuel close to the finish line. Showing teamwork here too, teammate Joaquim Rodrigues came to his aid, but both riders lost time. Nevertheless, Oriol finished 20th at the end of Stage 6 and sits in 13th place overall. Speaking about his day, Oriol Mena said, "My aim was to regain my confidence after the tough last stage we had. I am happy with the way I rode today - it was nice and smooth. But towards the end of the stage, I ran out of the fuel and had to stop. My teammate Joaquim helped me out with the refuelling and we made it across the finish line. So one more day gone and one day less to go."

Joaquim Rodrigues finished the stage in 21st position climbing the standings ladder significantly. The rider had a good day in terms of performance and now sits 25th in the overall standings, climbing six positions. Speaking on his performance, Joaquim said, "I had a good feeling today with the bike and got into a good rhythm. The stage was fast with lot of sand and was quite dangerous. Towards the end of the stage I stopped for some time to help Mena with the refuelling. Lost some time there but its ok and I am happy to make it to the finish line today. "

After CS Santoshs exit due to a crash in Stage 5, Oriol and Joaquim are the only two riders at Hero. For Stage 7, the participants will complete a 386 km loop around the dunes in the region of San Juan de Marcona.

Source: CarAndBike

January 14, 2019