With the last major stage done and dusted, the 2017 Dakar is set to wind down in 24-hours. But, before the champagne is popped, one last special stage of 64 km needs to be finished before the participants head to Buenos Aires for a grand reception for the finish podium ceremony and the winners are crowned.
For Hero Motosports Team Rally, there is much to celebrate with the last big special stage behind it. For a team that’s making its Dakar debut, both riders, Joaquim Rodrigues and C.S. Santosh, completing the 11th stage is crossing a major threshold. The newest team and manufacturer in the paddock has proved that it has the resolve, grit and the talent to succeed at the world’s toughest race.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally – Dakar 2017, Stage 11
Rodrigues, who finished the previous special in 19th place, tackled the dunes and the fast racing lines in the second part of the special stage, which was the penultimate timed section of the 2017 Dakar, with great poise and skill. For the team, and for many in the paddock, he has been nothing short of a revelation for speed and navigation skills. Rodrigues completed the 11th timed section of 288 km in 3 hours 37 minutes 56 seconds that puts him 14th place in the day’s classification, once again helped in reclaiming the coveted 10th place in the provisional overall general classification.
“Today we went straight into the dunes and it was very bumpy with a lot of hidden summits, which made it really tough. I took my time to find my rhythm. After that I also found some speed. In the second part of the special, we had WRC-type fast, hard-packed and very slippery track. Once again, I needed to get into a nice rhythm. I even overtook a couple of riders and reached the end of the special in good time. So, I am really happy for myself and the team. I am looking forward to reach Buenos Aires tomorrow,