Hero MotoSports Team aims at big debut at Dakar Rally

New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) Hero MotoSports Team Rally is geared-up to mark its entry into the Dakar Rally which is set to begin in Asunción from January 2, aiming to make a grand debut with Indian ace C.S. Santosh and Portuguese supercross star Joaquim Rodrigues.

Since the last race in the Oilibya Rally of Morocco in October 2016, which was the final stop for the team before the Dakar Rally, it has been a race against time for the technical team to get the bikes ready for the most gruelling race on the annual motorsports calendar.

The 37th edition of the Dakar Rally, will see Santosh compete in this rally for the third time. However, it will be his first appearance with a factory team.

Joaquim on the other hand will be making his debut at the Dakar, having delivered impressive finishes in the Merzouga Rally and Oilibya Rally of Morocco in his rookie year on the rally-raid circuit.

Hero Motosports Team Rally was formed in April, 2016, as a strategic partnership between Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer headquartered out of New Delhi, and German off-road racing specialist Speedbrain GmbH. Over the last few months, the team has had impressive runs in two Dakar series rallies.

The 2017 Dakar Rally will get underway on January 2, 2017, from Asuncion and finish in Buenos Aires on January 14.

The Rally will travel across Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia on a 9,000-km journey out of which more than 4,000 km will comprise timed sections that have been divided in 12 special stages, including one marathon stage during which no assistance will be allowed to the riders at the end of the day’s run.

For the first time in the history of the rally, the participants will make crossings above 5,000 metres over the high passes in the Andes en-route to Bolivia.

Santosh said: “I am very optimistic about our performance at the Dakar this year. There is a positive energy in the entire team and we can feel it here.

“We arrived two days back and are geared up for the race. The preparation has been good and the motivational levels are high, I can’t wait for the first stage to get started.”

Joaquim said: “I am extremely excited about the start of my first Dakar. Everything has been good and the preparations have been perfect so far. After arriving at bivouac, everything feels just right. I am charged up and hopeful that I will put-up a great show at my first Dakar.”

–IANS

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