Hero MotoSports completes 2021 Rallye Du Maroc with a top 10 finish
Round 5 concluded the 2021 Rallye Du Maroc and Hero MotoSports Team Rally finished with a top 10 finish in the overall ranking in the hands of Joaquim Rodrigues in P8. Sebastian Buhler and Franco Caimi were happy with the bike setup and finished P10 and P13 respectively in the stage. Both riders tested out new parts extensively after they fell out of contention for a top 10 finish in Stage 2 due to technical issues with their Hero 450 Rally bike. The Rallye Du Maroc acted as a test bed for teams to test out parts and set ups for the upcoming 2022 Dakar Rally. Stage 5 was initially set for a distance of 290km but was cut short to 166km. In total, the competitors covered over 1500km of race distance in the five days of rallying through the Saharan Desert. With all that said, let us look at how Stage 5 unfolded for the Hero MotoSport riders.
Joaquim Rodrigues was able to carry the momentum from the previous stages and ride through Stage 5 without putting a foot wrong or losing time in navigation errors and finished P11 in the stage. He pointed out that as most of the competitors around were testing out parts for the 2022 Dakar, it was a relief to see that Hero MotoSport and him were able to challenge the rest of the grid with their package. He also expresses that his performance in Rallye Du Maroc was a boost for the team and himself for the upcoming challenge.
Sebastian Buhler had a rocky rally overall as he was affected by technical issues and had to retire from Stage 2. After that, he started testing out parts for the team that would be used at Dakar 2022. The positive outcome from that was that Buhler was able to tweak the Hero 450 Rally bike to his liking early on in the rally and that resulted in his P10 finish in Stage 5. Buhler expressed that his progress with the team and the bike was a good aspect to take away from their tough week at Rallye Du Maroc and will try to keep this upward momentum going for Dakar 2022.
Franco Caimi was also affected by technical issues and that hampered the Hero MotoSport rider from being in contention for a top 10 finish overall. Caimi also opted to test out parts and set ups for the upcoming Dakar Rally and used the rest of the stages as a test bed. He was happy with the bike overall but opted not to push hard and finish the race carefully without any fatal mistakes or errors. He ended up finishing P13 in Stage 5.
At the end of the Rallye Du Maroc, Hero MotoSport Team Principal Wolfgang Fischer said, “The Rallye du Maroc is always the perfect training ground before the Dakar Rally. The conditions here match what we encounter at the Dakar, and we also have all the top teams here competing, testing and preparing. We had some parts to try out on the bikes, and not everything worked as well as we had hoped, but this is part of the sport and this is why we test. The team has worked hard all year round on improving the bike and we can see, with each rally, the bike becoming more competitive, and our riders have also trained hard and are performing at the highest level. Thanks to the entire team for their efforts and looking forward to the Dakar.”
At the end of Stage 5, Joaquim Rodrigues finished P8 with Franco Caimi at P24 and Sebastian Buhler at P26 in the overall standings. This was not the result that Hero MotoSport had planned, but they did manage to test out their Dakar package extensively ahead of the real showdown. With that said,the 2022 Dakar Rally will be the next event on the calendar scheduled to start from H’ail in Saudi Arabia on January 2, 2022. For more updates and news from the world of motorsport world, staye tuned for evo India!