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Dakar 2019: Hero Motosports hopeful of a good result

Sudipto Chaudhury

Both Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues, from the Hero Motosports Team Rally, kept their spirits up and finished the penultimate stage of the 41st edition of the Dakar 2019 without any incidents. Mena was in good form again, finishing the stage at 11th position. This allows him to move a notch above to 9th position in the overall rankings at the Dakar 2019.

Rodrigues fought off severe back pain throughout the duration of the stage. He has been suffering from the previous stage and a crash in the current stage added to his problems. He finished at the 19th position in the stage and is now placed at 17th position in the overall Dakar 2019 rankings.

Stage 9 witnessed a mass start in waves of 10 riders each. Offering a run of 313 kilometers in the special stage, it presented the competitors a 50-50 mix of the dunes and soft gravel laden terrain, a recipe for yet another fast stage.

“I am happy with my stage today. It was a mass start and there were all kinds of things happening around me, like guys going in wrong directions, losing way points, engines breaking and so on. So I decided to shut myself off and do my own race with my own rhythm and flow. One more day in the book, and only one day to Lima,” said Oriol Mena.

“Hard day today, I had a crash and damaged my bike a little bit. My back is still sore from yesterday so I decided to just take it easy and focus on reaching the finish line safely. So despite the difficulties we are across the finish line today with only one more day to go,” said Joaquim Rodrigues.

The penultimate stage saw a mass start in waves of 10, similar to the first marathon stage. The riders had to ride through another loop in Pisco which is full of tricky sand dunes, which resulted in the elimination of many competitors.  The total length of the stage was 410km. The final stage of the Dakar 2019 rally will see competitors cover a distance of 358km  with a loop of Pisco in a 112 kilometer special stage, before moving to Lima, where it all started, for the celebrations.

Provisional Stage 9 results are as follows:

1 Michael Metge      Sherco TVS Racing     03h 46m 38s

2 Daniel Jager Nosiglia     MEC Honda Racing       +02m 00s

3 Pablo Quintanilla           Husqvarna Factory Racing   +03m 28s

11 Oriol Mena    Hero MotoSports Team Rally +05m 58s

19 Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +40m 41s