– Joaquim Rodrigues wins stage 5
– All three riders finish inside the top 10 in overall rankins
Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsports Team of Hero MotoCorp – world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, today completed the Rally Kazakhstan with all three riders finishing the rally inside the top 10 positions.
The team completed their first rally in Kazakhstan on a high note with the spectacular performance of Joaquim Rodrigues, who won the final stage of the rally.
Rodrigues finished the Rally in seventh place, Caimi in eighth and Buhler in ninth place in the overall rankings.
Starting the stage in sixth place today, Joaquim carried his momentum from yesterday, blazing through the field to win Stage 5. This marks his first-ever stage win in the FIM Cross-Country World Championship. It was a wonderful achievement for the team to cap-off yet another good performance at an international rally that saw participation from top riders.
Sebastian Buhler rode at a good pace to finish the stage in eighth place. Franco Caimi made a couple of minor navigation errors but otherwise had a trouble-free day, finishing the stage in the tenth position.
The last stage of the rally, scheduled to run for 270 kms, offered one last challenge to the riders with stony deserts, wadi crossings, fast tracks, rocky ruts and some tricky descents. However, due to technical issues on the stage, it was cut short to 160 kms by the organizers.
A good result for the team here, despite facing the Kazakhstan terrain for the first time and a successful outing in the Andalucia Rally earlier, has given the Team a great start to this season. The team will now set its sights on the Silkway Rally starting in the first week of July, hoping to continue building on its good form up to the Dakar 2022.
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « First of all, we are happy to have all our riders complete the rally safely. After a long break in the FIM Cross Country World Championship due to COVID-19, it is nice to be back to racing, and that too in a new country. This was our first desert race of the season and the first taste for Franco riding the Hero 450 RR in the desert. A good learning for us was the issue we faced with the rear tyres. Overall, it was a good experience for us and good practice for the riders. It was great to end on a high note with JRod’s first Cross-Country Championship stage win. We are now looking forward to the Silkway Rally. It will be interesting to see what we can do over 10 stages with the competitive configuration we have now. Our thanks to everyone for their support and to our Hero Family across the world. »
Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « Today was a good stage for me. The bike performed really well, and I am happy to get the stage win, and dedicate it to our friend and mate Paulo Gonçalves. Our final results were compromised by the penalty we took for the tyres, but this is part of racing. Overall, the rally was really fast, and it took me some time to get comfortable with the high speeds on these dangerous terrains. It was a good opportunity to test the new configurations on the bike and we finished the rally with a win, so it is a good result for the team. »
Franco Caimi, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « I am happy to be here at the end of the Rally Kazakhstan. The stage was going well apart from a couple of small navigation errors. Overall, the bike is running well, and we are gaining more experience each day. I am also feeling more confident, and looking forward to the next races. »
Sebastian Buhler, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « It was a fast stage again with some broken tracks and a few dangers, but overall, it was a good day. The rally was full of fast tracks but it was good for the team to be able to run the bike in the desert. Thanks to the entire team for the great work, and happy to end the rally on a positive note. »
Stage 5 rankings
1. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, 1h 19m 51s
2. Ross Branch, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally, +01m 07s
3. Daniel Sanders, GasGas Factory Racing, +01m 31s
8. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +02m 53s
10. Franco Caimi, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +04m 38s
Final Overall Classification – Rally GP class
1. Ross Branch, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally, 14h 39m 02s
2. Matthias Walkner, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, +05m 07s
3. Adrien van Beveren, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally, +10m 16s
7. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +8hr 46m 08s
8. Franco Caimi, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +8hr 47m 01s
9. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +8hr 48m 16s