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Dakar 2019 Stage 5: Lorenzo Third Fastest As CS Santosh Crashes Out


KTM in hot pursuit of Honda; Nasser has a sizeable buffer over the field as the 2019 Dakar takes a day’s breather

  • Best ever stage finish for Sherco-TVS at Dakar.
  • Santosh forced to retire due to nasty crash but is medically stable.
  • Aravind impresses mightily, climbs up 11 spots.
  • Sam Sunderland wins stage to keep pressure on Honda.
  • Loeb took day’s top honours by a comfortable margin.
Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

The second half of the marathon stage was bound to be an eventful one for all as Dakar 2019 has reached its halfway point. And on this very day, is when two major things have taken place for the Indian teams at Peru. Starting off with the good news, Sherco-TVS Racing’s Lorenzo Santolino took third spot on the stage. Initially, he did end the stage in third, behind Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait and KTM’s Matthias Walkner, but was pushed down to fourth as Sam Sunderland was credited back his ten minutes loss for helping out a fellow stricken rider. The tale does not end there as Walkner has been handed a six-and-a-half minute time penalty and that means Lorenzo has got his third spot back. He now goes into the rest day as the top rider amongst the two Indian teams at Dakar in 11th position overall.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

Coming to the disheartening bit, CS Santosh has crashed out of the 2019 Dakar rally. This is his second retirement after his dismal 2016 outing on the ailing Suzuki. All three Hero MotoSports riders fell at some point of the day but only Santosh was unfortunate to not be able to get back on the bike and ride off. Poor visibility, fesh fesh and hidden stones on the course made it hard for the Indian rider to do well and ultimately he had to retire. He has severely bruised his hip but has received the necessary medical treatment and is stable. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on two wheels soon enough.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

How about the rest of the Indian contingent then? The Metge brothers, Adrien and Michael, could have done better on the day as the two finished 25th and 30th respectively. While Adrien remains 16th overall, Michael has climbed up two spots to 24. Another thing that the team will take in a positive manner is Aravind KP’s performance on the day. Not only was this his best end to a stage this year (49th on the day), it also helps him climb 11 spots in the final tally, now 53rd. This is the farthest that Aravind has ever managed in his three Dakar attempts, including this one, and we hope he continues this same matured style of riding into the next half of the rally as well.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

It is a bit of a sad camp as Hero MotoSports lost Santosh from the rally, as mentioned earlier. Oriol was not up to the usually high standards that he had shown all through the previous couple of days. However, the team will not be complaining as he is 12th fastest overall, four and a half minutes behind Lorenzo. Joaquim Rodrigues did well over the course of the stage as he was 18th fastest on the day, thus climbing up to 28th in the main classifications.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

Another one bites the dust as Honda’s Paulo Goncalves was on the end of a nasty injury which has broken his hand as well as cause a minor head injury. While stopping to help him out, Sunderland lost ten minutes. The Dakar organisers recognised that and decided to roll back ten minutes for the Brit. As a result he took the stage win from Xavier de Soultrait and the newly-promoted-to-third Lorenzo. Adrien van Beveren and Andrew Short rounded off the top five.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

As the riders settle in for a hard earned rest, Honda is still leading the rally with Ricky Brabec, although his gap to second-placed Sunderland is just a second shy of a minute. Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla drops down a spot to third while Toby Price narrows the gap to the guys ahead of him. Van Beveren is still the best placed Yamaha in fifth, six and a half minutes behind Brabec.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

Sebastien Loeb looked like a man on a mission as the former WRC champion mastered the stage in his Peugeot DKR 3008. He was 10 minutes and 22 seconds quicker than rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah, who would be more than happy with how the other drivers fared, particularly Stephane Peterhansel. Nani Roma was the fastest Mini on the day in third followed by Peterhansel, Jakub Przygonski and Cyril Despres.

Dakar 2019 Peru Stage 5 Hero TVS Santosh Aravind

As a result, the gap between Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel at the front of the rally is now close to twenty five minutes. Roma is a further ten minutes behind these two with Przygonski now having to fend off Loeb for fourth, just two minutes being the difference between these two.

It is a rest day for all the participants but that does not mean that the action will stop. The mechanics will be frantically working to get the vehicles back up to 100 per cent after suffering the continuous abuse over the past two days.

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