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The Atacama Rally, which is the fourth round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship will start from tomorrow in Chile. This is the first time Hero Motorsports is taking part in the Atacama Rally. Joaquim Rodrigues, who suffered a massive crash at the Dakar Rally earlier this year, will be making his comeback. Oriol Mena, who put up a stellar performance in this year’s Dakar Rally and Merzouga Rally by finishing in 7th and 13th place overall, will look to carry the same form to finish in the top 15. C S Santosh will not be a part of the contingent as he will be participating at the 2018 India Baja which is set to take place from August 17-19 in Rajasthan.
The rally will be a mix of mountain, valley and coastal terrains coupled with complex routes, posing navigational challenges for the competitors in the driest desert in the world. For the 2018 edition, the rally will be held in city of Copiapó, within the Atacama region. There are five stages including a prologue stage and the rally will cover a distance of 1,200km over the course of five days. It has three categories – bikes, cars and side-by-side vehicles. Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar/Husqvarna Factory Racing team) won the rally for five years from 2013-17 in the bikes category.
Joaquim Rodrigues, factory rider of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “I am glad to ride my bike again. I was with the team during the Merzouga Rally as a mentor and I missed racing on my bike the most. I have trained hard these past months and have made great progress. Atacama Rally is a learning ground for me personally and I am aiming to get back in form.”
Oriol Mena, factory rider of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “It has been a great start to the season. The top-15 finish at the Merzouga Rally, followed by an energetic training regime has lifted my energies for the next adventure at Atacama. I am hoping to carry the momentum forward and deliver a good performance for the team.”
Stay tuned for updates from the Atacama Rally.