Hero Motorsport Team Rally power through stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

– Joaquim Rodrigues finishes the stage in the top 5

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsports team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, has completed the third stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with its riders finishing well inside the top-10 positions.

This time it was Joaquim Rodrigues who led the charge for the team and recorded a strong fourth place finish in the stage. Starting the stage behind his teammate Sebastian Buhler, Rodrigues soon caught up with him and they tackled most of the stage together. Buhler finished just three minutes behind his teammate in the sixth position.

Franco Caimi’s technical issues that occurred during stage 2, did not allow him to start stage 3, the second day of the marathon stage.

In the overall rankings, Rodrigues has strengthened his hold on the fifth position while Buhler has shot up to sixth place.

The third stage of the rally covered a further 293kms of specials and as has been the trend in this rally, the stage was entirely in the dunes. As the second leg of the Marathon stage finished, the riders were reunited with their teams in the Bivouac. The next stage, which is the second last stage of the rally, will expose the riders to another 400kms in the desert, including over 250kms of special stages.

Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « Franco suffered a technical issue during stage 2 and unfortunately could not arrive at the finish line. Although he once again displayed his caliber with exemplary performance in the fight for the podium. Though his first Abu Dhabi experience has come to a premature end, he will now focus on arriving at the Dakar with maximum preparation. JRod has been battling a nasty flu since stage 1, but he’s conserving his energies and continues to fight ahead. Basti, meanwhile has been getting familiar with the big sand box of Abu Dhabi, and has avoided taking any big risks. »

Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « Stage 3 was a little easier than the previous stages, with more open tracks. This helped me to bring the bike to the finish with a good time, even though I have not recovered fully. We have two more stages to go in this rally, so looking forward to two good days. »

Sebastian Buhler, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « The stage was more enjoyable today with smaller dunes, and a smooth flow. I rode most of the stage with JRod, who had caught up to me, which was a nice change after riding alone for two days. We are back in the Bivouac after the Marathon stage, and looking forward to the last two stages. »

Provisional Stage 3 Rankings
1. Daniel Sanders, GasGas Factory Racing, 03h 59m 09s
2. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, + 02m 44s
3. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha, + 03m 06s
4. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 05m 17s
6. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 08m 19s

Provisional Overall Standings
1. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, 11h 54m 24s
2. Daniel Sanders, GasGas Factory Racing, + 58s
3. Adrien van Beveren, Monster Energy Yamaha, + 05m 40s
5. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 26m 29s
6. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 39m 20s

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