Joaquim Rodrigues, C S Santosh hold steady at the end of stage 5

Erfoud, Morocco May 11, 2017 Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders, Joaquim Rodrigues and C S Santosh have overcome the hardest stage of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco. The 2 day Marathon stage tested the riders with zones that were quite dangerous and very technical, thus challenging the riders’ bike control to the maximum.

After staying overnight on their own, under the stars of the Moroccan desert and another episode of bad sand storm, the riders went to work this morning to complete the penultimate stage of the race. Already made difficult by the absence of the mechanics and the support crew, the second day of the Marathon stage of 206 km tested the riders with many dunettes, big stone fields and tricky navigation throughout.

Joaquim Rodrigues, made a good run today, taking control of the stage with his cool head, steadfast resolve and ever improving navigational skills. He was in fact very close to clinching the stage victory, only missing it by 1:07 min. In the end he finished today’s stage in the 4th place, his best stage finish since winning the prologue.

For C S Santosh too, the stage started well but a nasty crash after that impacted his progress in the stage greatly. Santosh lost a lot of time due to the crash and finished the stage in 36th position.

With only the last stage remaining to be conquered, Hero MotoSports Team Rally will be looking to make a last dash in the short 50 km special of Grand Prix Dunes and bring home a good result for the team.

Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “I lost a bit of time yesterday in the Marathon stage, looking for a secret waypoint but today I started off really well and got myself to the end in a very good position. For now, we just wait for the last stage tomorrow and bring my bike home for Hero MotoSports Team Rally”

C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “The Marathon stage is generally the turning point of any cross country any rally. For me the marathon stage started alright but a couple of crashes and navigations errors hampered my performance. I wasn’t feeling too good with the bike and found that I had some damage there. My focus was to bring it home today and get it in shape for the last stage tomorrow.” 

Provisional Results Stage 5

1. Mena Oriol                          Honda                                        03:12:04 Hr

2. Botturi Alessandro              Yamaha                                      +00:07 sec

3. De Soultrait Xavier             Yamaha                                      +00:26 min

4. Joaquim Rodrigues           Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01:07 min 

36. C S Santosh                     Hero MotoSports Team Rall    +01:25:04 Hr

Provisional Results Overall

1. De Soultrait Xavier             Yamaha                                               13:48:48 Hr

2. Farres Guell Gerard            KTM                                                   +12:43 min­­­

3. Caimi Franco                       Yamaha                                                +21:56 min

9. Joaquim Rodrigues           Hero MotoSports Team Rally          +01:35:04 Hr

17. C S Santosh                     Hero MotoSports Team Rally            +03:26:10 Hr