2018 Dakar Bikes Day 1: Indian Riders Make a Solid Start – Santosh 13th, Aravind 30th

Added in: Motorsport

The 2018 Dakar Rally kicked off in grand style with participating drivers and riders kicking plumes of dust in their wake through the perilous dunes of Peru. The 2018 Dakar witnesses participation from two Indian racing teams, and as many riders. While Aravind KP, who crashed out unfortunately last year is representing TVS Racing, CS Santosh is riding for Hero Motorsports Team Rally. Both riders are joined by two foreigner counterparts from  their respective teams.

For the uninitiated, the 2018 Dakar kicked off on 6th of Jan and will conclude on Jan 20th traversing its way through three countries: Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The inaugural stage witnessed tons of action between Lima and Pisco, Peru.


The start of the 2018 Dakar was largely positive for the Indian contingent. TVS Racing’s Aravind KP finished the day at a steady 30th position. Being cautious not to overcook things while also trying to gauge the pace of his competitors, he managed to finish in a stable position. “He had a very good stage, he surprises me. He is very relaxed and focused on his racing” said David Casteu, TVS Racing Team Manager.

CS Santosh from Hero Motorsports Team Rally finished his inaugural day in a stronger 13th position, also his best for any stage at Dakar. This is CS Santosh’s fourth outing at the torturous rally, though only the second with the Hero Motorsports team.

TVS Racing team manager David Casteu was very excited about the inaugural day. “The race has finally started! The last few days of waiting are always a time of tension for the whole team. The riders all started from the podium this morning and attacked 300 km of challenging terrain that went to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It was time to carefully monitor the bikes, it’s important during the first few kilometers. But everyone has arrived safely at the bivouac “.


TVS Racing’s Adrien Metge finished day 1 in 24th position. According to the team management, he had to concentrate very hard as the dunes of Peru are dangerous, and you have to pay careful attention to your navigation.

Joan Pedrero, another TVS Racing rider finished the first stage right after his team mate in 25th. Both Joan and Adrien passed the scene of an accident where a rider (Rodriguez) jumped a huge dune. The scene somewhat dampened their spirits and caused them to break their rhythm a little bit.

Day 2, however, is expected to be a nice track to ride aggressively on

“The plan for today was to gauge and assess the competition. And the report is there: it is going to be a very fast race! We will have to be present. Tomorrow is a special with navigation, it’s good to go far but the riders will have to maintain a good pace. Our bivouac is located in a very windy area, the rally conditions are here. We are in the heart of the race, there is no doubt, the Dakar has indeed started” said TVS Racing’s David Casteu summing up Day 1.

While everyone ended day 1 without any damage at TVS Racing, Hero Motorsports Team Rally wasn’t as fortunate. CS Santosh’s team mate Joaquim Rodrigues had a crash, which ended his race. He was rushed to the hospital where initial scans showed no signs of any major injuries. He is now recuperating.

Oriol Mena from Hero Motorsports made a cautious start to his Dakar dreams and finished at a stable 22nd position.


© RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

C.S. Santosh, commenting on his performance on Day 1 and his team-mate’s crash, said “What a day to kick-off the Dakar 2018. It was an anxious start for me being in the Peruvian desert as the short stages are always tricky. There were many way point controls but I am really happy to come back safely and achieve my best ever stage finish at Dakar. Now we work towards the next stages and take a moment to wish for a speedy recovery for our mate JRod.”

13 stages now remain in what’s known as the world’s toughest off-road rally which will end on January 20 in Cordoba of Argentina via Bolivia.

Provisional Stage 1 General and Overall Classifications are provided belolw

1. Sam Sunderland RedBull KTM Factory Team 20m56s

2. Adrian Van Beveren Yamaha Official Racing Team +32s

3. Pablo Qunitanilla   Husqvarna Factory Racing +55s

13. C.S. Santosh Hero MotosportsTeam Rally +03m16s

22. Oriol Mena Hero Motosports Team Rally +04m14s

24.  Adrien Metge TVS Racing + 04m31s’

25. Joan Pedrero TVS Racing + 04m36s

30. Aravind KP TVS Racing  +05m15s’

DNF Joaquim Rodrigues Hero Motosports Team Rally  Withdrawn due to injury

Stay tuned for more updates on the 2018 Dakar from an Indian perspective. Here’s an Image Gallery

© RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer
© RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer
Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Joaquim Rodrigues
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (7)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (6)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (5)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (4)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (3)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (2)
Dakar Rally 2018 TVS Racing (1)

Read More »
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *