Hero MotoSports Team Rally wrapped up their Dakar 2021 mission on a high with both riders finishing Stage 12 in top 10. Joaquim Rodrigues crossed the line in P8 to move up from P12 to P11 in the overall rankings. JRod missed the top 10 spot by just about 22 minutes. Sebastian Buhler had one of his best performances so far and came in at P11 to move up from P15 to P14 in the overall ranking.
Joaquim Rodrigues has led the charge for the team for most of the stages this year. JRod said yesterday that while starting this season, he didn’t expect him and the team to do so well. He said that the bike worked perfectly without any troubles through all stages and that he was very thankful to the team for such a great setup. On the podium, when he was asked about how it feels to have finished in P11, he simply said, “The Dakar rally is very tough. I’m just very happy to finish.”
Sebastian Buhler has been consistent for the team in all the stages. Basti even picked up pace and took charge when JRod made an error and slipped down in a select few stages. Like his teammate, Sebastian has been very vocal about how good the Hero 450 Rally bike has performed. In fact, despite all the physical stress and strain he went through to post decent times daily, Basti owes his performance to the bike which gave zero issues.
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager said, “Crossing the finish line of any Dakar is a great feeling but this year is very special for me personally and for the team as well. After what happened last year, we were not sure how we would be able to come back together like this and race again. But we did manage to pull-off this amazing feat thanks to the will power and drive of the team. At the Dakar, we had Santosh’s accident that shook us all over again. Our prayers and wishes go out to him for a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back with us soon."
As for CS Santosh, according to the team, he was transferred by Air Ambulance from Riyadh to Bengaluru on Thursday without any issues. As per the latest information, he has been brought out of the induced coma successfully. He is now receiving the next stage of treatment and continues to be in CCU for observation. We hope to hear from the Bengaluru lad soon!
The last 15 days of Dakar have been testing times for the whole team. They had some brilliant stages, some slow ones and then there was CS Santosh’s unfortunate accident. Also, to finish strong in a rally just a year after they lost their teammate Paulo is a huge task in itself. Come what may, the team has put its head down and got on with it. To say that it was an inspiring run in their Dakar 2021 mission is an understatement. Kudos to the team for a great year.