Dakar/Hero Motosport: CS Santosh finishes in 20th position

C.S. Santosh © RallyZone

After the ceremonial start yesterday, Hero MotoSports Team Rally geared up for serious action and started the Dakar 2019 with the first stage getting underway. After a long liaison of 247 kms, the short 1st special stage of 84 kms was kicked off in reverse order from Lima to Pisco. Indian ace rider CS Santosh made a strong finish on his fifth Dakar outing to finish at 20th position.

 
The comeback man for the team – Joaquim Rodrigues, was the second to tackle the stage. He kept his focus on finishing the stage safely and crossed the finish line at Pisco in the 23rd position.

Oriol Mena was the last to start for the team. He faced a little touchdown trying to avoid a tricky hole in the first dune that he encountered, but otherwise had a steady start to his Dakar campaign. He finished the stage in 14th position.
 
With all the riders warmed up to the Dakar and the stage 1 in the bag, the rally will move to San Juan De Marcona tomorrow for the first full stage with 552km, including the liaisons, to be done in the heat and dunes.
 
C.S Santosh (Comp No: 50): « I am very optimistic about our performance at the Dakar this year. This will be my third Dakar with Hero MotoSports and fifth overall. It has been a very exciting three years and I’m geared up for yet another rendezvous. There is a positive energy in the entire team and we can feel it here. The preparation has been good and the motivational levels are high, I can’t wait for the first stage to get started. »
 
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 7): « Good Day today overall except for a small incident where I overlooked a small hole on the other side of the first dune and had a touchdown. Well that’s how this Dakar has started for me, but I am safely back at the bivouac and that’s what matters. Tomorrow will be another day. »
 
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No: 27): « Today was an emotional stage for me. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous starting today as this was the same stage where I had crashed last year. So I rode really tight today, may be even breaking too much at times to be on the safer side. But I am happy to see the first stage behind me and now I can focus on getting into a good rhythm in the next few stages. »
 
Provisional Stage 1 Results
1. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, 57m 36s
2. Pablo Qunitanilla, Husqvarna Factory Racing, Husqvarna, +01m 34s
3. Ricky Brabec, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +02m 52s
14. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +07m 07s
20. C S Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +09m 13s
23. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +10m 14s
 
Provisional Overall Results
1. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, 57m 36s
2. Pablo Qunitanilla, Husqvarna Factory Racing, Husqvarna, +01m 34s
3. Ricky Brabec, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +02m 52s
14. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +07m 07s
20. C S Santosh, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +09m 13s
23. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +10m 14s
 
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