The hardest two days of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally began today with the commencement of the Marathon Stage. JRod rode with great temperament and purpose to finish the stage at an impressive 5th position. With this result he has thumped his way back into the top 10 in the overall general rankings.
The Erg Rissani region known for its soft sands, which the competitors have not crossed since the 2014 edition, was the 1st test that the riders had to tackle before hitting the tracks again amidst the sandy mountains including a few steep stony uphill climbs. Due to yesterday’s stand storm, today’s special stage of 274 kilometres was shortened by 80 kms. During the Marathon Stage, today and tomorrow, the pilots will have to service and maintain their machines without any mechanical assistance.
After a difficult stage 3, both Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders, started the marathon stage well with great intent and focus to gain back the positions they had lost in the sandstorm of yesterday.
Indian rider CS Santosh, too had a good run today, maintaining a steady performance to finish the stage at 17th position, and thus retaining his 15th position in the overall rankings at the end of the stage 4.
Today’s good performance of Hero MotoSports Team Rally, with both riders back in top 15, brings in the right momentum required to place them in a good stead for the second half of the rally.
Wolfgang Fischer, Team manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “Following yesterday’s difficult stage, we are happy to finish the first part of the marathon stage with both the riders arriving safely in the marathon bivouac. They reported to us through satellite phones that it was a tough stage with very challenging navigation and difficult to find hidden way-points. The bikes and the riders are in good condition and we look forward to finishing the second part of the Marathon stage tomorrow.