Hero MotoSports Team Rally faced mixed results in stage 2, though Buhler’s consistent performance meant a 13th-place finish for him
Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Joaquim Rodrigues, who had a stellar first stage, hit a technical snag right at the start of stage two, causing the team to bring him back to the bivouac to avoid any unnecessary risks. For its part, the 243km second special stage presented the most technical challenge of the rally to the competitors with a twisty and narrow first part followed by sandy tracks and finally ending with faster tracks again.
Teammate CS Santosh who had built up a rhythm and was looking to bring home a good position, needed to stop midway to help JRod get back to base. Consequently, Santosh lost some time, and yet achieved a commendable 23rd-place finish.
At the end of stage 2, both Buhler and Santosh have gained positions, moving up to the 14th and 21st place respectively in the overall rankings. JRod, meanwhile, incurred a heavy penalty for not finishing the stage, causing him to be pushed to the end of the overall rankings. He is expected to restart tomorrow.
Speaking on his successful jump up in rankings, Sebastian Buhler said, “Today’s stage was similar to the last one, so I had a good outing today as well. I got to spend some more valuable time on the bike and that’s what we are here for. I made a small navigation mistake in the beginning and let the rider behind me catch me but other than that it was all good. Happy to bring another stage to a finish for the team.”
Post his roller coaster of a day, CS Santosh said, “I saw Joaquim needed some help, so I stopped and helped him out of the stage. After that, I got back into a nice rhythm and rode quite well in the first half of the stage. In the second part, I made an avoidable error of going back to find a waypoint. Regardless of the result, I felt good on the bike today and found a nice flow to my riding. I am learning from my mistakes, which will surely benefit me at the Dakar. Now on to the remaining two stages of the rally.”
Shedding light on a less-than-stellar day, Joaquim Rodrigues opined, “Today was a short day for me as my bike started having electrical issues right at the beginning of the stage. The team decided to bring the bike back to investigate. These things happen in rallies and that’s why we are here, to test the new equipment and configurations before the Dakar. The team is now working on the bike so that we can be ready to go out tomorrow again.”
Below are the provisional rankings for the second stage, as well as the overall rankings at the end of the stage:
For the next (third) stage, the Rally will cover 378km, including a 233km special stage starting near the town Arahal, southeast of Seville. And despite the disappointments of the second stage, the Hero Motosports Team Rally remains undeterred as this event provides the much-needed opportunity to test the latest equipment and configurations in a thorough race environment, before the ultimate goal, that of the Dakar 2021.