Hero MotoSports Team Rally delivered a solid stage 1 at the 2021 Dakar Rally with Joaquim Rodrigues in 22nd place, Sebastian Buhler at 29th and C S Santosh at 43rd
All of Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s riders made it safely back to the bivouac after finishing the 622km stage in the 2021Dakar Rally. The Team’s new bike passed its first Dakar test with a flawless run, showing that it can be pushed harder in the upcoming stages. Sebastian Buhler pushed right on in the initial part of the Stage whereas teammates Joaquim Rodrigues and C S Santosh took it easy to avoid mistakes in the crowded early stages.
After the 2021 Dakar Rally's prologue, Sebastian Buhler started ahead of his teammates in P5 and about 20km into the stage, made an error by following a pack of riders down the wrong path. This cost him several important minutes and was left riding alone in the dust for most of the stage. After successfully completing the stage at P29, Buhler said, “Today was a hard stage in general. It was more like an enduro stage but over stones. I made a small mistake in the beginning in choosing a track and after that I was pretty much riding alone in the dust which was very difficult and risky. But it’s only the first day so I am happy to be back at the bivouac safely and tomorrow we will try to do better.”
Joaquim Rodrigues had a more cautious approach on the stage to avoid making an early error. At the end of the stage, JRod finished in P22 and is currently the front runner in the team. Commenting on the stage, Joaquim Rodrigues said, “It felt like a really long stage today. I didn’t start very confident and definitely my speed was also not up there. So, I decided to focus on navigation throughout the stage.”
C S Santosh from Bengaluru also took the first stage with caution. Just like his teammate Joaquim, Santosh didn’t want to risk an early error in the Rally. Looking back on Stage 1 of the 2021 Dakar, Santosh said, “It was definitely not an easy stage today. It was a really physical stage with a lot of rocks to go through so it was slow and you had to always watch the roadbook. There were lots of direction changes and tricky navigation to set you off the track. So overall I think it was a very tough first stage of the Dakar and it sets the precedence for the stages to come ahead.”
The team hopes to get more competitive in Stage 2 which takes the Rally from Bisha to Wadi-Ad-Dawasir which is a total of 685km, including a 457km special stage as well. The second stage is expected to be more sandy too. So to sum up the first stage of the Rally, the bike has proven to be really strong and the riders are hoping to get more competitive after a cautious start.