Erfoud, April 2: The 10th anniversary edition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally kicked off on March 31st, 2019, with a free practice session and a short prologue stage of 2 kilometers.
Stage 1 of the Rally saw the riders traverse a distance of 210 kilometers; the stage was a combination of rocky terrain and sandy dunes with some tricky navigation to tackle in the Moroccon desert. Michael Metge started the Rally at 15th position and completed the stage with an overall ranking of P3.
Aravind KP completed the stage at P31 in the provisional standings and Abdul Wahid Tanveer at P3 in the Enduro category.
B Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing said, "It is always heart-warming to start a Rally on a positive note as it sets the momentum of the Rally. Michael continuing his winning streak from Dakar 2019 started off with a smashing performance. Aravind KP had some issues in the stages but was able to finish the stage on a good note. Tanveer is our Enduro champ, he is very comfortable with his bike and is all geared up to bring in some exciting performances. Merzouga is a tough Rally, we have a strong team this year and we hope to finish the Rally on a positive note."
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Different conditions all together at @merzougarally , bike and riding felt great , issues with Stella and my odo , had to follow others to the finish with zero knowledge about my whereabouts , tomorrow is another day , P 27 currently
A post shared by Aravind K P (@aravind_kp) on Apr 1, 2019 at 12:10pm PDT
David Casteu, Team Manager, Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team, said, "Merzouga Rally is an important learning ground for us not only because it is part of the Dakar Series but also the sandy terrain here is similar to the ones the riders face at Dakar. There's a lot of roadbook navigation and riding in windy conditions which makes it interesting.
"After a solid performance at the Dakar Rally, Michael Metge started the Rally with a bang and has been training hard for a podium finish. Aravind KP brings all his experience to the team and will push himself to stay on top. Tanveer had a great racing season last year and we hope he continues the momentum. Our technical crew is also well prepared for the race with 3 Rally-bikes to be managed and I wish the team all the very best for a great Rally."
Commenting on his performance Michael Metge, Racer, Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team said, "Merzouga is one of the toughest Rallies as a part of the pre-Dakar series. I am happy with this solid start and will do my best to keep the momentum going."
Stage 2 will see the riders traverse a distance of 240 kilometres, divided into two loops with a 145 Km of special stage. Certain sections of the route are expected to be challenging with a mix of quick stretches and large dunes.
Rankings for Stage 1:
Michael Metge - P3
Aravind KP - P31 (Provisional Standing)
Abdul Wahid Tanveer - P3
Source: Press Release