Hero completes Rally du Maroc with another Top 15 finish

© RallyZone

The last stage of Rally Du Maroc took the competitors from Aufous back to the starting city of Fes for a grand conclusion, following a 168km special section through the beautiful and scenic stage, through the valleys and the plains before getting into a section of mountains, finally ending with some tricky navigation and a few narrow kilometres through the forest.


Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s eventful campaign at the Rally Du Maroc also came to a successful completion today, as all the 3 riders crossed the finishing line, bringing another rally to the books for the team with 100% arrival rate. With no pressure to fight for a position, exhibiting true sportsmanship, Paulo even let the top riders pass through so as to not influence their closely fought battle for the podium. He finished the stage at an easy pace on 20th place, while JRod finished in the 19th place and C S Santosh too, keeping it steady, brought it home in the 27th place.

At the end of these 5 gruelling days of racing, Hero MotoSports Team Rally managed to secure another Top 15 finish with Paulo on 13th and Joaquim Rodrigues on 15th place, while C S Santosh closed the rally on 24th place in the overall standings.

This can be considered a highly successful rally in many ways for Hero MotoSports Team Rally as the main goal was to get the bikes tested in the last competitive environment available before the Dakar. On that front, the bikes delivered a flawless performance through the 5 days of rigor, yet again, and the team managed to collect valuable data and feedback from this rally to get these bikes Dakar Ready. From the rider perspective as well, the big stage win for Paulo is going to be a memorable outcome and the sheer grit and perseverance showed by all the 3 riders in these long and exhausting stages will also be a big plus to build upon for the upcoming Dakar.

Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager and Head – Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It was a very good preparatory race as usual, and this time, we also got a chance to test out a new road-book system before the Dakar, so all in all quite a valuable experience. After having lost Oriol to an injury just before the race, our approach was to be cautious and safe to avoid any unnecessary crashes and injuries. From that perspective, it was a success for us as we had no technical issues with the bike, secured a fabulous stage win and posted another 100% arrival with all the 3 riders and bike crossing the finishing line. A key takeaway from learning perspective will be the navigation and that’s what we will focus on for the next two and a half months leading up to the Dakar. We wish a speedy recover to Oriol so that he can join us soon as we put forward our full strength team, come January. »

Paulo Goncalves, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « Happy to finish the Rally Du Maroc safely. It was quite a tricky rally for me as I committed a few navigation mistakes in the starting stages, compromising the chances of a top result. But the last 2 days were really good where I got back into my rhythm and could win a stage for my team. Today of course being the last day, I switched off my race mode and focussed on bringing it home. It was a really good experience and training overall and now we start getting ready for the Dakar. »

Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It’s a good feeling to have finished the Rally Du Maroc 2019. It has been a tough week for me since the beginning but a solid experience nonetheless. It was our last race before the Dakar so we wanted to get as much feedback for our bikes for the Dakar and we are all happy with how well the bikes have performed. So we take a bit of a rest now and then it’s time to focus on the Dakar. »

C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « Finally happy to have finished the Rally today. It was a really tough rally with long stages and tough navigation and then we had the new road-book system as well. Totally exhausted at the end of it but today was a good day for me. Made a good stage today, felt comfortable on the bike so I am happy with that. I finished all the rallies that I participated in this this year so that’s a really good sign for me and that I am making good progress heading into the Dakar. We’ll see you guys in Saudi Arabia next! »

Provisional Results of the Stage 5
1. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, 02h 13m 15s
2. Joan Barreda, Monster Energy Honda Team, +02m 54s
3. Luciano Benavides, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, +03m 10s…
19. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +14m 08s…
20. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +15m 50s…
27. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +29m 38s…

Provisional Overall Results after Stage 5
1. Andrew Short, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 18h 03m 54s
2. Pablo Quintanilla, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, +01m 21s
3. Joan Barreda, Monster Energy Honda Team, +02m 44s…
13. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +58m 24s…
15. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +01h 06m 22s…
24. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +04h 49m 03s…

Press Release,


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