Merzouga: Another Top 15 finish for Hero MotoSports Team Rally

Oriol Mena © DR

As the week long Afriquia Merzouga Rally came to its conclusion today in the majestic dunes of Merzouga, Hero MotoSports Team Rally added yet another impressive finish to their record. Continuing with its tradition of mass starts in the final stage, today’s stage of the Merzouga Rally kicked off in Motocross style start with groups of riders starting together. It was a high-octane and intensely fought stage, all in dunes, which aptly brought the curtains down on the rally on a high.

For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it ended in another good result with Oriol Mena finishing in top 15 at 15th position and C S Santosh finishing in top 20 with a 19th place. The team will take a lot of positives from this result considering that in this edition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, almost all the top teams and top riders of the Dakar were competing, imparting it a flavour of a ‘mini – Dakar’.

Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It was a good race for us with many positives coming out. We tried some new combinations with Mena first time riding on the Dakar evolution bike and JRod contributing a lot in his role as a mentor. We enjoyed a lot in this race and in the end we got top 15 for Mena and top 20 for Santosh, which is a good result considering that it was like a mini-dakar this time with all the top riders competing. We did face some minor issue that prevented us from having a better result, especially for Mena, but we will take all these learnings to increase our capabilities further. All in all a good race and a good base to start our Dakar preparations. »
Oriol Mena, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « Today was the last and the shortest stage of the rally with only 48 km to cover, which they further reduced to 40 km due to some last minute changes. I started with the fastest group of riders but decided to maintain my own speed because I did not want to take unnecessary risk in the last stage. My focus was to get my Hero bike across the finish line and I feel happy to have put the Hero bike in the parc ferme. One more race in the books for me and I am happy to be going home richer in experience. »
C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It was our first international rally after the Dakar. I am really glad to have finished the Merzouga, as I was a little worried after the crash I had at the Desert Storm. Overall I think I made fewer mistakes this year and improved a lot in my speed and navigation, so it’s been a good learning experience for me. The bike and the team have been fantastic and helped me get the bike home every day. Now I will look to build upon this experience for the next races to come. »

Provisional Results for the Stage 5
1. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Racing, 38m 12s        
2. Kevin Benavides, Honda Racing, +03s
3. Toby Price, KTM Racing, +06s…
13. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +03m 00s…
30. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports, +06m 45s…

Overall Provisional Results at the end of Stage 5
1. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda Racing, 13h 28m 19s    
2. Kevin Benvides, Honda Racing, +06m 10s
3. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Racing, +11m 25s …
15. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +02h 24m 49s…
19. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports, +03h 15m 00s…

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