Pisco (Peru), Jan 18 (PTI) Continuing his good run, Spaniard Oriol Mena of Hero MotoSports finished the final stage in the 17th spot, retaining his ninth position in the overall rankings while Aravind KP became the only Indian to finish in the 41st Dakar Rally which concluded here Friday. Also Read - Lawyer Caught Stripping Naked & Having Sex with 'Client' During Zoom Court Hearing, To Face Probe

The final stage was all about bringing the bike home safely across the finish line at Pisco, which was achieved expertly by both Joaquim Rodrigues and Mena as they finished the stage in 12th and 17th positions respectively. Also Read - Machu Picchu in Peru Reopens After 8 Months, But Only For 1 Japanese Tourist. Know Why

With the final stage results in, Mena is placed at the 9th position and Rodrigues at 17th position in the overall standings of the Dakar 2019, bringing in a top 10 and a top 20 finish for the Hero MotoSports team. Also Read - Peru Opens Machu Picchu For a Single Japanese Tourist After Being Shut For 7 Months, Here's Why

The Hero MotoSports team also successfully achieved its third successful finish at the Rally, with its riders arriving at the finish line in all the three years that it has participated at the Dakar. It was also its second back-to-back top 10 finish.

It was a superlative show put up by Mena throughout the rally. His sporting acumen and superb temperament was at display once again as he got through the stages in a near flawless fashion while some of the more experienced and exalted peers faltered now and then.

With this performance, Mena’s reputation has risen from being the “Best Rookie of the Dakar” last year to being one of the “Heroes of the Dakar” this year.

On the other hand, Rodigues ensured that his comeback, after the crash last year, was a successful one. He put on a gritty show, fighting his old injuries and battling the new challenges, not once bowing down or giving up. His performance at the Dakar this year reinforces his status as a force to reckon with in the near future.

For Sherco TVS Racing’s Aravind, he had a steady start in the early stages, then picked up his pace in the second half of the rally and climbed up the rankings. Despite a few crashes during the intermediate stages, he fought hard and got to the finish line.

On the technical front, the bikes performed with absolute reliability, giving the riders supreme confidence and an extra edge over some of the other more experienced factory teams.

The Dakar Rally came to a final halt in the seaside district of Magdalena in Lima for the triumphant parade and celebrations that marked the end of what has been one of the toughest editions of the Dakar Rally yet.

“What a Dakar this has been. Lots of ups and downs, even the very last stage was quite tough. I think it was a better Dakar for me this time as we went through some amazing stages and terrains. I’m really happy that I could finish in the top 10 again,” Mena said.

“The feeling of finishing Dakar is yet to sink in fully as I have been dreaming and waiting for this moment for 3 years now. It’s difficult to express my feelings at the moment but I am overjoyed to be at the finish line. With multiple injuries in the run up to Dakar, I always knew I had to push myself beyond the comfort zone to finish the rally,” Aravind said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.