In an unfortunate event, Hero MotoSports rider CS Santosh suffered a crash and sustained injuries between waypoints 4 and 5, rendering him incapable to continue the stages. The exact nature of his injuries is not known. He is currently being attended to by the medical team at a hospital in Tacna and his condition is said to be stable, according to the team. This brings an end to his fifth Dakar outing. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he will bounce back strongly.
Meanwhile, Sherco TVS riders continued their good run. Leading the assault was Lorenzo Santolino, posting his best result by finishing the stage in a very impressive third place. He has moved two places up the overall rankings and is now in 11th position. Aravind KP showed strong spirit, leapfrogging from 78th to 53rd position in stage classification and is currently in 54th position overall. Adrien Metge and Michael Metge finished the fifth stage in 24th and 29th position respectively. In general classification, Adrien and Michael are at 16th and 24th position respectively.
Sherco TVS rider Aravind KP was happy to finish the stage without any incidents, but was sad to hear fellow rider CS Santosh crash out. “Definitely a big moment for me to have completed the marathon stages of Dakar rally . The dunes were super challenging but after a while I started enjoying my riding. Sad to see brother CS Santosh crash, wish him a speedy recovery, and hoping nothing serious”, he said.
Stage 5 went blazing fast, with all riders going flat out in waves of 10 in a motocross-style start. The presence of fesh-fesh severely impaired the visibility for the riders at the back, and stones hidden away in the course of the route made it even more dangerous. Later parts of the stage action saw huge dunes increasing the difficulty levels for the riders.
Hero MotoSports riders had a tough day as both Mena and Rodrigues crashed once in the stage. Oriol Mena’s crash was quite bad, as he lost his bearings for some time after the crash, but managed to cross the finish line, completing the stage in 16th place. However, he retained his 12th position in the overall standings . He said: “The beginning was really nice and easy with comfortable riding. But then at around 268km I think I hit a stone and had a massive crash. But it’s the Dakar and these things happen. Most important is that I am ok and happy to be back with the team. Really sad to hear about Santosh crashing out. Important thing is that he is ok and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Despite crashing twice and hurting his shoulder, JRod finished the stage in a respectable 18th place, climbing three positions up to 28th in the overall standings. “It was an extremely tough and dangerous stage today with a lot of fesh-fesh and hidden away stones. With everyone going full out all the time, it made visibility very poor for the guys riding at the back. The dunes were also very difficult to cross. One of them was so big that I had to go up and down a few times to gain enough momentum and even then I barely made it to the top. I also crashed twice and hurt my shoulder a bit but managed to pick my bike up and ride it to the finish line. It was a rough day today but the good thing is that we are still in the race and that’s all that matters. I am really sorry about Santosh’s crash, it was just one of those stages where keeping yourself safe was a full task in itself. I am glad to know that he is ok and wish him a fast recovery ”, said JRod after stage 5.
On Santosh crashing out and about his teammates, Wolfgang Fisher, team manager said: “It was quite a difficult day for us with the news of various crashes coming out from the stage. Santosh had a nasty crash and couldn’t continue. It is quite sad because he was probably riding his best Dakar yet. At the same time we are happy that he is doing ok and currently getting the best medical care possible. Mena and JRod too had scary crashes but we are quite happy that both of them somehow made it back to us. We would like to thank all our fans and supporters for the kind wishes they have been sending for the safety of our riders.”
Tomorrow the rally proceedings will come to a halt for half a day, giving some respite to the competitors, teams and the organisation to replenish their energies and take a stock of their performances thus far.
The rally will hit the road again tomorrow in the evening for a semi-marathon stage where the riders will camp at a separate bivouac than the assistance teams for the night. From 13th January onwards, the rally will start backtracking the route back to Lima with stage 6 taking them back to the dusty San Juan De Marcona.
Here are the overall results after stage 5:
|1.||Ricky Brabec||Honda Factory Racing||16h 51m 34s|
|2.||Sam Sunderland||KTM Factory Racing||+59s|
|3.||Pablo Quintanilla||Husqvarna Factory Racing||+02m 52s|
|11||Lorenzo Santolino||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 00H 37′ 00′|
|12.||Oriol Mena||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+41m 30s|
|16||Adrien Metge||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 01H 17′ 07”|
|24||Michae Metge||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 02H 26′ 43′|
|28.||Joaquim Rodrigues||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+02h 37m 53s|
|54||Aravind KP||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+ 07H 30′ 39”|
|C S Santosh||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||DNF|