The rally visits iconic locations traversed by the Dakar rally until 2018
The rally visits iconic locations traversed by the Dakar rally until 2018Hero MotoSports

Desalt of the earth: Desafío Ruta 40 Rally

Hero Motorsports continue their rise in global rallying with a solid performance in the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina

The Desifío Ruta 40 Rally returned after five years of absence in grand style, with 110 competitors across classes vying for glory over 2804km and five stages. Amidst all this, it was Hero Motorsports flying the Indian flag high once again on the Road to Dakar, with standout performances from riders Ross Branch and Sebastian Buhler netting the team another top-ten performance in an international rally that saw the likes of KTM, Honda, Yamaha flex their might with legendary riders such as Toby Price and Luciano Benavides. Tosha Schareina emerged as the final winner of the rally in the RallyGP bikes class, whereas seasoned Dakar legend Nasser Al Attiyah yet again triumphed in the T1 cars class.

Ross Branch secured a second place finish on the final stage
Ross Branch secured a second place finish on the final stageHero MotoSports

Finishing a strong P8 and P9 in the prologue, Hero had a tough first stage, which was also the longest, covering 700km of the total route. However, the gruelling stage ended with Ross Branch a respectable fifth and Buhler in eighth place. Progress continued over the 339km second stage as Branch improved to fourth place and Buhler consolidated a tough stage in ninth. Stage three saw Branch take another fourth place with Buhler in sixth place as the riders faced extreme cold and high altitudes in the mountains of Argentina. Stage 4 was bittersweet for the team as Sebastian Buhler had to exit the rally with mechanical trouble in the remote and unforgiving Fiambalá dunes, having to be extracted and thus not allowed to carry on with the rally. This left Branch as the sole Hero rider in sixth place. For the final flourish, Branch produced a gem of a ride which saw him secure a stage podium in the fifth and final stage with a second place finish, ultimately leading to a fourth place finish overall. This however turned into a third place overall finish as the winner, Tosha Schareina, was not part of the World Rally Raid Championship.

By far one of Hero Motorsport’s most consistent and impressive outings in the World Rally Raid Championship, the Desafío Ruta 40 gave us Indian motorsport fans a huge boost in hope for the future. The next outing will be the Rallye du Maroc in Morocco in October.

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