Despite an 18th-place finish, Sebastian Buhler was upbeat, as the Andalucia Rally gave immeasurable experience for the 2021 Dakar
Despite an 18th-place finish, Sebastian Buhler was upbeat, as the Andalucia Rally gave immeasurable experience for the 2021 DakarHero Motosports Team Rally

Hero Motosports concludes Andalucia rally on a positive note

Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s first campaign of the season ended on a positive note with the riders gaining valuable experience

Hero Motosports Team Rally had a solid run in the final stage of the Andalucia Rally, with all three riders of the Team utilised the opportunity to acquire some more saddle time and proficiency, ahead of the 2021 Dakar Rally.

Making a comeback to the world of competitive rally racing after a significant hiatus, Hero MotoSports Team Rally set out on the Andalucia Rally to gain racing experience, and has been highly encouraged by all the positives achieved during the course of this week.

Sebastian Buhler led the team’s charge in the final stage, finishing at a strong 12th place. Joaquim Rodrigues brought the bike across the finish line in the 20th place while Santosh continued to gain confidence and rhythm to post a commendable 23rd place finish.

At the end of four stages and close to a 1000km of racing, Sebastian Buhler finished the Andalucia Rally at an overall 18th spot, while C S Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues came in at the 20th and 27th positions, respectively.

Speaking about his day’s performance, Sebastian Buhler said, “Today was a very dangerous stage because of a lot of dust and no wind made visibility very poor for the riders. This rally was good for me and the team as well. We really enjoyed racing again as a team and coming back from a difficult experience at the Dakar earlier this year. I want to thank the team and all our fans for their support.”

CS Santosh, too, was quite upbeat, saying, “We have successfully finished our very first rally after the Dakar 2020. It was a long wait. It was good to be back on the bike but more importantly it felt good to be back with my team mates. It was nice to start working again towards our goal of Dakar 2021. It has been a difficult year for us as a team and also for everyone else with the Covid-19 pandemic, so I think this is a very positive step to restart the racing activities. I want to thank everyone for their support and backing us. We are very excited to go to Dakar 2021 with a lot of energy.”

Joaquim Rodrigues, however, was less than happy, saying, “The last day wasn’t fun. I started at the end and all the dust from riders ahead made visibility very poor. So, eased up and focused on bringing the bike to the finish line. It felt good to be racing again after the difficult year we have had. I have been doing a lot of work on bike development with the team and it was good to be able to test everything out here in real-world conditions. I think we will be in a good shape for the Dakar next year. I want to thank my team and everyone else for their help and support. I will see you soon at the Dakar.”

Below are the provisional rankings for the final stage, as well as the overall rankings at the end of the Andalucia Rally:

This has been a challenging and emotional comeback for Hero Motosports, especially after the loss of Paulo 'Speedy' Goncalves in the 2020 Dakar rally. However, they showed grit and determination to overcome personal and professional trials and concluded the rally with a solid performance. The Rally provided a perfect opportunity for the Team to regroup and test their equipment ahead of the Dakar.

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