Hero MotoSports Team Rally started their first international rally of the year, the Merzouga Rally 2018, on a positive note today with the Prologue stage. The two rider strong team of Oriol Mena (Rider No. 17) and C S Santosh (Rider #29) finished the 5 km prologue stage, ridden in the large dunes in front of the Tombouctou hotel at setting of the sunset in the 13th and 27th position respectively. The Prologue stage was conducted to determine the starting order for the first stage of the rally, scheduled to be kicked off on 16th April.
The Afriquia Merzouga Rally offers an ideal training ground for the teams to kick start the preparations for the mighty Dakar. The 2018 edition of the Merzouga Rally is touted to be all this and much more as this edition is expected to be much more technical and tougher, exploring some previously unexplored zones from this region. For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, participating in their 3rd Merzouga Rally, the rider duties will be performed by the best rookie of the Dakar 2018, Oriol Mena and the Indian ace C S Santosh, who also posted his personal best at the Dakar 2018. They will be joined by their team mate Joaquim Rodrigues, who will be donning the role of a Mentor as he makes a fast recovery into racing after his unfortunate crash at the Dakar 2018.
The Moroccan challenge will really start with the commencement of Stage 1 tomorrow. The first full day of the rally will offer the riders with a 207 km special stage as a warm up to the competition and putting their navigation skills to the test with relatively complicated navigation.
Oriol Mena, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « I am really happy to ride with the new bike in this rally. Today was only 5 km of riding in the prologue but under pressure. Looking forward to the first real stage tomorrow. »
C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It’s the first day of the Merzouga Rally and nerves are always flying. It’s always good to get the prologue out of the way. It was nice to go out and get the rally started. Looking forward to the next few days of really rally racing. »
Results of the Prologue Stage
1. Kevin Benavides, Honda Racing, 05m 25s
2. Toby Price, KTM Racing, +3s
3. Paulo Goncalves, Honda Racing, +17s
13. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +39s
27. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports, +2m 17s