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Dakar Rally: KP Aravind pulls out with broken ankle, injury toll increases

Hero MotoSports’ CS Santosh, climbed up five places to be placed 51st after the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally, while his teammate Orio Mena is placed 21st.

other sports Updated: Jan 11, 2018 10:58 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, Arequipa (Peru)
Dakar Rally,KP Aravind,Sherco TVS Factory Rally team
Sebastien Loeb of France and co-driver Daniel Elena of Monaco drive past the crashed car of Janus Van Kasteren and Wouter De Graaff of the Netherlands during stage 5 of the Dakar Rally. Later, Loeb pulled out of the rally too after Elena injured his back in a crash.(REUTERS)

KP Aravind, who was India’s best performer so far, withdrew from the fifth stage (motorcycle category) of the Dakar Rally with an ankle injury. The Sherco TVS Factory Rally team rider was placed 44th after the fourth stage.

The 30-year-old suffered a broken ankle during a crash in Wednesday’s stage which started from San Juan De Marcona and finished in Arequipa in Peru. This is the second injury pull out for Sherco TVS after Adrien Metge withdrew pulled out with a broken leg during stage 2.

The fifth stage had a 508 km liaison section, the longest yet of Dakar 2018 and 226 km of special stage making up for a total of 774km.

The other Indian left in the rally, Hero MotoSports’ CS Santosh, climbed up five places to be placed 51st after the fifth stage. Santosh’s teammate, Orio Mena, is placed 21st and the debutant rider has a good chance to finish in the top 20.

Even Hero MotoSports suffered an injury let down when their senior-most rider Joaquim Rodrigues withdrew with a back problem after stage 1.

Testing conditions

The sand dunes of Peru have caused quite a few injuries in the first five stage of the Dakar. The soft sand with high slopes have tested the mettle of the competitors.

Sam Sunderland, who led the motorcycle category after three stages, had to be airlifted to hospital as he pulled out with a serious back injury. The 28-year-old defending champion landed hard after a jump and it eventually led to his exit.

Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager, Andre Villas-Boas, had to retire with a back injury after the fourth stage. He had to be taken to the hospital too.

Sebastien Loeb - a nine-time world rally champion – also pulled out after his co-driver Daniel Elena got injured as their car landed awkwardly in the desert.

Van Beveren leads

Yamalube Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren, currently the leader in motorcycle category, held on to his slender lead by finishing fifth in stage 5.

Van Beveren faces some tough competition from Honda’s Kevin Benavides and Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner. While the former trails by just one minute, the latter is behind Van Beveren by one minute and 14 seconds. Walkner finished second in stage 5 while Benavides finished third.

In the car category, Team Peugeot Total’s Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret increased their gap at the top by winning the fifth stage. They lead second-placed Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, also from Peugeot Total, by 31 minutes and 16 seconds.

After tackling the sand dunes, the drivers and riders will next have to tackle the high mountains of Bolivia. The temperature will drop sharply with there is also possibility of heavy rain.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 10:02 IST