Dakar Rally 2023: Hero MotoSports Team Rally Stage 5 update
Stage 5 of the Dakar Rally 2023 in Saudi Arabia covered around 650 kms in a loop around Ha’il, and Hero MotoSports Team Rally kept up its steady performance after the happenings of Stage 4. Sebastian Buhler finished the stage in the 13th position, followed by teammate Franco Caimi in the 18th position in the Rally GP class. Meanwhile Ross Branch finished in 21st position in the Rally GP Class.
Dakar Rally 2023 Stage 5
Due to the results of Stage 4, Buhler and Ross Branch had to start towards the back of the pack, which meant that the tracks present on the Stage were broken and in a bad condition due to the competitors who had started off earlier. Despite the rough terrain however, Sebastian Buhler finished just 14 minutes behind the stage winner. In the process, he also upped his overall rank to 18th in the Rally GP class standings. Franco Caimi on the other hand faced an unusual incident with his bike – with a wire getting caught in the rear wheel and cutting open the brake line. As a result, he was forced to race the last 150km with caution. The incident resulted in him losing some time on the Stage, yet Franco continued on to hold the 14th overall rank in the Rally GP class standings.
Due to the time losses in the previous stage, Sebastian Buhler and Ross Branch had to start later in the day towards the back of the group. The tracks were broken and in a bad condition from the competitors who went earlier, making it a lot more difficult for the duo. Despite the tough terrain, Sebastian rode well, finishing just 14 minutes behind the stage winner, and improved his overall rank to 18th in the Rally GP class standings. Franco had an unusual incident with a wire getting caught in the rear wheel of his and cutting open the brake line of the bike. He was forced to ride the last 150 kms of the race with caution. In the process, he lost some time, yet he braved-on to reach the finish line in good time. He currently holds the 14th position in the overall Rally GP class rankings
Ross Branch had a great start to Stage 5, maintaining good speed and was all set to bag a good stage result. However, issues with his bike around the refuelling point meant he lost some time. With the changes that the team is making to his bike, Branch is hopeful of a better performance in the upcoming stages.
The upcoming Stage 6 was initially planned to be the longest stage of the race at 876km. However, the heavy rains and flooding in the region has cut short the stage by about 100 kms, with the competitors camping the night at the bivouac in Riyadh instead of the earlier planned one at Al Duwadimi.