The 41st edition of the Dakar Rally came to an end yesterday, and it was a historic day for both the Indian teams as they crossed the finish line. In the headlines, is our very own KP Aravind, who became the second Indian to successfully complete a Dakar Campaign. After two unsuccessful attempts in 2017 and 2018, Aravind KP finally managed to be the daunting Dakar Rally. Finishing in style, 42nd fastest ending his campaign in 37th place overall!
Speedbrain Hero MotoSport, also had a fantastic run despite the disappointments with CS Santosh dropping out of the rally. It was Oriol Mena who stole the show with an impressive overall 9th position finish. For his team-mate, however, the going wasn’t all that easy, a struggle in the first half of the last day saw him drop out of the contention for top 30, but the Dakar couldn’t keep the J-Rod down. He responded with a strong comeback finishing in 12th place for the day, in 17th place overall.
In the overall classification, a storm was brewing with the title still up for grabs even after only 10 km of the stage was left. The epic battle between Dakar title defender Toby Price’s KTM and Pablo Quintanilla’s Husqvarna saw the two less than 1 min apart, only to come to grinding halt when a crash cost Quintanilla a vital 8 minutes. Allowing KTM their 18th title at the even and his second ever Dakar win.
On four wheels, the title went to Naseer Al-Attiyah and Toyota, bringing in his third title, with the Qatari previously having won titles with Volkswagen in 2011 and again with Mini in 2015, before switching to Toyota Gazoo Racing.
With 2019 Dakar behind us, we can’t help but talk about next when the grapevine suggests that the Rally will move back to its roots in Africa. If you thought the dunes of Peru were daunting, next year is likely to be even more so!