Dakar Rally 2023: Hero MotoSport Team Rally Stage 6 update
Hero Motorsports continued their valiant charge back up the field with all three riders finishing in the top 20 in Stage 6.
Franco Caimi led the charge for the team and finished the stage in the 15th position, just 9 minutes behind the stage winner. Sebastian Buhler and Ross Branch followed him closely behind in the Rally GP class standings, in the 16th and 17th positions respectively.
Stage 6 was undoubtedly one of the longest days of Dakar 2023, a staggering 919 km route from Ha’il to Riyadh. Due to flooding from the incessant rains, the route was shifted to reach the bivouac in Riyadh, instead of Al Duwadimi. The day started off as early as 4 am in the freezing cold weather, and the competitors reached Riyadh quite late in the evening, in pouring rain, yet again. Continuing the trend from the last few stages, this stage too was a fast one on the sands.
The three Rally GP Class competitors Franco, Sebastian, and Ross enjoyed the fast stage, despite the long day in the desert. Continuing their consistent performance, the trio of Hero riders feature in the overall top-20 ranks, with Franco in the 15th, Buhler 18th and Ross in the 20th position in the overall Rally GP class standings.
Sebastian Buhler: “Happy to have finished another stage. It was a very fast stage, mostly in the sand, but also had fast plateaus and some danger zones. I aimed to get a good rhythm, and overall, I think the stage has been positive.”
Franco Caimi: “Today was a fun stage. We had lots of sand throughout the stage, like in the last few stages. It has been quite physically demanding, yet I had fun on the bike. I felt well connected with my bike too today. I’m happy to have finished the stage, and now we'll relax a little bit and start all over again tomorrow.”
Ross Branch: “It has been freezing all day, right from 4 am in the morning when we started, till late evening when we reached the bivouac in Riyadh. The stage was really nice and fast, but unfortunately I couldn't get a good flow, and struggled all day. In the last 50 kms I managed to get a turnaround and found a good pace, but it was a little late by then. Anyhow, we're all in one piece, the bike is going really well, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”