Stage 9 turned out to be a memorable day for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team as their top rider Michael Metge triumphed over all his competitors in the penultimate stage of the Dakar 2019. Pushing himself right from the word ‘Go’, Michael dominated the stage ahead of all the top 10 riders. The team has dedicated this stage win to Micahel’s teammate Lorenzo Santolino, who had to retire due to a crash in Stage 6.
With this win, Michael’s overall ranking is now at 22nd and he intends to finish this year’s Dakar with another dominating performance in the last chapter. Stage 9 saw a mass start in waves of 10 like the first marathon stage. The riders had to ride through another loop in Pisco, full of tricky sand dunes, which had resulted in many key riders to quit during Stage 2.
Michael’s teammate and brother Adrien Metge was more cautious in his approach due to physical strain and he finished 20th at the end of the stage. He is right behind Michael in the overall rankings at 23rd. India’s Aravind KP got off to a blazing start, taking the lead for the first 190 kilometres. KP faced bike issues in the middle of the stage but thanks to some help, he was able to complete the stage. His overall ranking stays at 39th position.
Commenting on the stage win, Michael Metge says, “It was an unbelievable feeling to win a stage at Dakar. The stage was challenging as there was lots of dunes and fesh-fesh. I started in the second line at the wave start and I pushed all the way through the stage. Soon I caught up with the first riders and I went past the leader quite quickly. Full credit to the team mechanics for preparing my bike, which has been performing beautifully in the sand dunes. I dedicate this win to my wife and 2 children, who are my pillars of support.”
Steady and consistent in his performance, Aravind KP said, “It was a mixed day for me but that’s what Dakar is about. I started really well taking the lead in the mass start. But things changed halfway when my bike had some issues. These were tense moments as I wanted to complete the stage at any cost. Thank god for the local help who assisted me in restarting the bike and finish the stage. This is the spirit of Dakar and I am lucky to have experienced it.”