Hero Motosports climbs to 2nd overall position at the Rally Raid Portugal

– Sebastian Buhler wins stage 2!

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, showcased a commendable performance today by winning the stage, and claiming the overall 2nd position of the rally.

Hero factory pilot and local lad, Sebastian Buhler won Stage 2 of the Rally Raid Portugal. His team mate and Rally GP Class rider Ross Branch completed the stage in the 8th place. After successfully completing the first 2 stages, Buhler and Branch enjoy the 2nd and 7th positions in the overall Rally GP Class standings, respectively.

Stage 2 was a 201 km loop around Grândola, of which 166 km formed the timed section. Continuing with the complexities from the previous Stages, the route offered dangerous riding on sandy tracks and hard packs, yet set amidst beautiful landscapes. The day saw a lot of water, mud, and slush on the tracks, and took the competitors through many narrow paths lined with trees and roots.

Sebastian Buhler, who hails from the region, utilized his familiarity with the terrain to his advantage, and led today’s Stage right from the beginning. This is the young rider’s first Stage victory so far in the FIM World Rally Raid Championship. With his powerful performance today at his home race, Buhler has jumped multiple notches up from 6th place yesterday to the 2nd position in the overall standings of the rally.

Ross Branch, who entered the race as the leader of the W2RC, is yet to find a good rhythm at this race. The terrain is very new to him, but he hopes to get a good grip through the remaining days of the race.

The 3rd Stage will mark the longest day of the race in terms of timed kilometers. Starting from Grândola, the competitors will head north to Ribatejo and Alto Alentejo, and eventually cross the border to arrive in the Spanish city of Bajadoz. The rally caravan will spend the night in Bajadoz before the next Stage.

Sebastian Buhler: « Stage 2 was a little longer than yesterday. I tried to push right from the beginning, because I somewhat know the terrain, and like it much. But it had a lot of water on the tracks due to the rains, so I had to keep it safe as well. Anyway, it turned out well in the end, and I’m happy to win the Stage and re-gain some time which I lost yesterday. We’ll continue pushing through this week for the best final result. »

Ross Branch: « Today’s Stage was quite tough and really tricky; but I just tried to keep my head up and get to the finish in one piece. This terrain is not something which I’m used to, but the landscape is very beautiful, and we’re having good fun out here. I’m happy to see so many people out on the side of the tracks cheering for us – a big thank you to all of you, and to my team for the support. I’ll keep on pushing, and let’s see how it goes. »

Provisional Rankings – Stage 2 (Rally GP Class):
1. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, 1h 47m 59s
2. Adrien Van Beveren, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 1m 09s
3. Skyler Howes, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 2m 38s…
8. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 5m 12s…

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2 (Rally GP Class):
1. Tosha Schareina, Monster Energy Honda Team, 3h 06m 31s
2. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 2m 56s
3. Skyler Howes, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 4m 17s…
7. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 8m 30s…