Dakar Rally 2019, stage 1: CS Santosh in top 20

Dakar Rally 2019, stage 1: CS Santosh in top 20

The 41st edition of Dakar Rally was flagged off from Lima, Peru and it was a great start for CS Santosh from Hero MotoSports as he finished the first stage in 20th position. His teammates Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues finished in 14th and 23rd positions respectively. Joaquim Rodrigues was second to tackle the stage, while Oriol Mena was the last to start for the team. It was a great start for team Sherco TVS too, as Michael Metge finished in 12th position while his teammates Adrien Metge, Lorenzo Santolino finished in 24th and 25th position overall. Aravind KP didn’t seem to have a great start as he finished in 71st position.

After a long liaison of 247km, the short first special stage of 84 km was kicked off in reverse order from Lima to Pisco.

On finishing in 20th position, CS Santosh said, “I am very optimistic about our performance at the Dakar this year. This will be my third Dakar Rally with Hero MotoSports and fifth overall. It has been a very exciting three years and I’m geared up for yet another rendezvous. There is a positive energy in the entire team and we can feel it here. The preparation has been good and the motivational levels are high, I can’t wait for the first stage to get started.”

Oriol Mena had a small incident during the first stage, but he recovered soon. “Good day today overall except for a small incident where I overlooked a small hole on the other side of the first dune and had a touchdown. Well that’s how this Dakar has started for me, but I am safely back at the bivouac and that’s what matters. Tomorrow will be another day.”

Joaquim ‘J-Rod’ Rodrigues, who had a bad crash in the 2018 Dakar was cautious in his approach as he didn’t want to crash out again. He said: “Today was an emotional stage for me. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous starting today as this was the same stage where I had crashed last year. So I rode really tight today, may be even braking too much at times to be on the safer side.  But I am happy to see the first stage behind me and now I can focus on getting into a good rhythm in the next few stages.”

After the first stage, Aravind KP said, “It was difficult to read the course on the first part of the stage! But I felt much better on the second part. A good day for me and I hope to learn and improve every day all the way to the finish line.”

Michael Metge said, “A difficult first stage, it took a bit of time to adapt to the bike, but little by little I felt better and better and I have confidence for the future!”

Adrien Metge said, “I am very happy with the bike, it is working well, I managed to catch up with the riders in front of me, this race is long!”

Lorenzo Santolino said, “The prologue went off well, I’m getting to know the Dakar. Second stage is a challenging one, we’ll know more about what we’re facing, but I feel good.”

The rally will now move to San Juan De Marcona for the first full stage with 552km, including the liaisons, to be done in the heat and dunes. Here are the overall results:

Position Rider Team Time
1 Joan Barreda Bort Honda Factory Racing 57m 36s
2 Pablo Qunitanilla Husqvarna Factory Racing +01m 34s
3 Ricky Brabec Honda Factory Racing  +02m 52s


12 Michael Metge Sherco TVS Rally Factory +06m 49s
14 Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally +07m 07s


20 C S Santosh Hero Motosports Team Rally +09m 13s
23  Joaquim Rodrigues Hero Motosports Team Rally +10m 14s


24 Adrien Metge Sherco TVS Rally Factory +10m 16s
25 Lorenzo Santolino Sherco TVS Rally Factory +10m 53s
71 Aravind KP Sherco TVS Rally Factory +26m 47s

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