Hero Motosports Team Rally riders, Joaquim Rodrigues of Portugal and C.S. Santosh of India, gave a satisfying start to the team’s Dakar debut.
Rodrigues, who entered the first timed section in 27th place, made a blazing run to complete the 39-km special in 29 minutes 42 seconds, that put him in 16th place in the provisional general classification—a gain of nine places up the starting order. Most impressively, the Portuguese rider, who is making his Dakar debut, finished one place ahead of the defending champion, Toby Price.
“Today’s stage was good for me, though I started with too much adrenalin. So, I first hit a bump hard and then hit some rocks twice that scared me a little. Then I started to realise that this is my first stage in my first Dakar, so I decided to slow down. After that, it got a little bit better. I am really happy with my bike. Hero Motosports has done a great job with the bike and I am glad that I got to the end,