The fifth stage of the Dakar Rally 2018 was a challenging one, and the whole Peru stages were too hard for the amateur riders and drivers. I was feeling a bit exhausted in the morning as I didn't have a good sleep, so it took me a little time to get going in the stage. "We all started together on the beach, and I was in the second group of riders to take the start". He finished the stage at 38th position and overall 51st place at the end of the first half of the Dakar Rally. Prior to KP, Sherco TVS also lost Adrien Metge on Stage 2 after injuries to his shin.
Stage 2 was the first full-length stage of the Dakar with a short 12 km liaison section followed by a 267 km loop of Pisco on Sunday.
In the bike class, Antoine Meo clinched his maiden stage win of this year's Dakar Rally but Monster Honda's Kevin Benavides secured the overall classification lead finishing runner-up on the sixth stage. Barreda is now in the fourth position overall but, he is still on the hunt for the Dakar 2018 podium.
Joan Pedrero from TVS finished in 18th place with an overall standing in 15th position. But instead he was left rebooking his flight home after his Peugeot became stuck in the dunes twice, with a truck having to help him out of a sand hole, costing him nearly three hours. Aravind KP put in another good performance and improved his position by 10, ending the stage in 30th place, impressing everyone with his handling of the bike.
Sainz trims Peterhansel's lead with first Dakar stage win
With a tough stage on the cards, both the Hero riders made a decision to be cautious and steady. The stage was tough, especially the last 50 km or so.
It was Stage 5 victor Joan Barreda who led the bikes off the start alongside the banks of the Titicaca Lake. This stage onwards, the rally will step up to become faster as it leaves the sands behind to tackle the Bolivian Altiplano at the altitude of 2500m and above. The Indian rider crashed out of the stage when he suffered a fall and broke his ankle close to the finish. I thought it might be at the top of a dune.
Withdrawal of Aravind means Hero MotoSports' CS Santosh is the only Indian rider left in the rider's roaster to finish the rally.