The eighth stage saw the competitors cover a total distance of 575km. Sherco TVS rider and the only Indian in the rally right now, Aravind KP maintained his consistent performance at the Dakar 2019, with his 39th place finish overall at the end of stage 8. It is a huge improvement from his 45th place finish in stage 7. He finished the eighth stage in 39th position. With the team’s fastest rider Lorenzo Santolino out of contention in the rally it came down to the Metge brothers to take the lead. And the brothers rose to the occasion; Michael took the 10th spot and Adrien finished the stage in 14th position in stage 8. In general classifications, they are placed in 24th and 26th position respectively.
Commenting on this stage, Michael Metge said: “It was a challenging stage with the bad weather and order of vehicles at the start point. As the rally moves closer to the end, I feel the urge to make up for the time lost in the initial stages and record my best timings once we reach Lima at the end of the rally.”
Aravind KP said: “The low visibility at the start was a concern for me and I didn’t take any chances. I really enjoyed my ride once I hit the dunes and managed to improve my rankings. It was a very long stage and I am happy to have completed it.”
It was a good day for Hero MotoSports as both the riders posted good results in stage. It wasn’t all easy for JRod, as he had injured his back while tackling the fast stage. The fog and dust made the going tougher. But he soldiered on to finish the stage in an impressive 12th position. Mena put a strong show rode flawlessly throughout the stage without any incidents and finished the stage in 11th position, thus breaking into top ten in overall standings. Mena is in 10th place while JRod is in 18th place in the overall rankings.
After completing stage 8, JRod said: “Today was a really difficult with lot of fog in the mountain and lot of fesh-fesh with rocks making it extremely dangerous to push ahead. I encountered dangerous large hole in the track which wasn’t mentioned in the roadbook so I hit it really hard and hurt my back. I am a little bit in pain but happy to finish the line and we see how it goes tomorrow. ”
On breaking into the top ten in overall standings, Mena said: When I started today, it looked like a difficult and dangerous stage so I decided to ride safe and steady with no crashes or mistakes. The stage was completely destroyed due to the previous tracks and mixed start. So I focused on my rhythm and rode more like an enduro race with good speed and flow. I am really happy to be across the finish line today and now only 2 more days to go!”
With only two stages to go, the Dakar Rally 2019 has seen a lot of unexpected twists in the results. But that is how it is when you take part in the world’s toughest rally. You gotta expect the unexpected. Case in point – Lorenzo’s exit from the rally due to a nasty crash in stage 6. He was airlifted to the hospital and his bike too was airlifted by a chopper. It was a chilling sight to see his motorcycle dangling off the ropes while being airlifted by the chopper. To see him lead the assault for Sherco TVS and crashing out the next stage was heartbreaking. Fellow riders stopped and helped him, showing spirit and camaraderie even in the middle of the race. That’s Dakar for you, in a nutshell. Stay tuned for more updates.
Here are the overall results:
|1||Toby Price||KTM Factory Racing||28h 53’ 08”|
|2.||Pablo Quintanilla||Husqvarna Factory Racing||+ 1m 3s|
|3.||Matthias Walkner||KTM Factory Racing||+6m 35s
|10||Oriol Mena||Hero Motosports Team Rally||+ 01H 49′ 51”|
|18||Joaquim Rodrigues||Hero Motosports Team Rally||+ 04H 30′ 12′|
|24||Michael Metge||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 07H 29′ 46”|
|26||Adrien Metge||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 07H 43′ 40”|
|39||Aravind KP||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 12H 41′ 57”|