Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders Paulo Goncalves, Sebastian Buhler and CS Santosh exercise caution during stage one of the 2020 Dakar Rally.
The 2020 Dakar Rally is on in full swing in Saudi Arabia and three riders from Hero MotoSports Team Rally have finished stage one. Paulo Goncalves finished the stage in 12th place, Sebastian Buhler in 31st and CS Santosh in 39th position. The team opted for a safe first stage strategy with riders riding with caution in order to avoid any errors in what is going to be a very long and enduring rally.
Paulo gathered good pace in the second half while Sebastian Buhler had to make a small additional run to catch a waypoint. CS Santosh encountered a couple of minor crashes as he got his first taste of the Saudi sands. Santosh will enter the second stage at 38th position. However, it wasn’t all smooth for Joaquim Rodrigues as he suffered an unfortunate mechanical problem in his bike forcing him to forfeit the stage. He will try for a restart tomorrow, with pending permissions from the competitors department and the recovery of the bike, becoming the first competitor of the rally to avail the newly introduced ‘Wild Card’ rule. As per the rule, he will now be considered out of contention for an overall result, but remains in the competition for the stage results.
Stage one took place from Jeddah to Al Wajh spanning over 752km which included a special stage of 319km. Stage two is currently underway from Al Wajh to Neom continuing along the Red Sea, for a special section of 367km to be done on the clock.
1. Toby Price - RedBull KTM Racing 03h 19m 33s
2. Ricky Brabec - Monster Energy Honda Team +02m 05s
3. Matthias Walkner - RedBull KTM Racing +02m 40s
4. Paulo Goncalves - Hero MotoSports Team Rally +10m 17s
5. Sebastian Buhler - Hero MotoSports Team Rally +35m 13s
6. C S Santosh - Hero MotoSports Team Rally +43m 57s
Commenting on his performance after stage one, CS Santosh said, “I was really excited to see what the Saudi terrains have to offer today. It was a really fast stage and had some technical sections as well with stones. I think I put together a good starting stage until after a tricky stony section where I had a crash and hurt my hand a bit. Overall, I am happy with my start and to see the back of stage 1 at the Dakar 2020.”