Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport division of the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., will begin its ‘Road to Dakar 2019’ campaign with the 2018 Merzouga Rally to be held in Morocco from 15th – 20th April 2018. This will be the Team’s first international rally of the year.
The Hero MotoSports Team will be represented by its Indian star rider CS Santosh and Dakar Hero Oriol Mena.
Oriol Mena (Rider No. 17) who finished Dakar 2018 as the best rookie rider with a 7th place finish will look to continue and extend his good form. The Indian ace, CS Santosh (Rider No. 29), who also delivered his personal best of 35th place finish at Dakar 2018, will look to spend some quality time on the bike, following his crash at the Desert Storm 2018 last month.
Team’s third rider Joaquim Rodrigues will join the team as a Mentor, while he continues his recovery from the injuries of his unfortunate crash at the Dakar 2018.
This year, the Marzouga Rally will be organised in the Merzouga region of Morocco, known for its large dunes and extremely soft sands. The competitors will start with a short prologue on 15th April, which will be followed by 5 days of intense rallying including two days of gruelling Marathon stage.
The Team is looking forward to gaining valuable race time and experience with its sights firmly on the Dakar 2019.
Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp and Head – Hero MotoSports: “Merzouga marks the first race in our road to Dakar 2019 and we are really excited about it. We are looking forward to gaining experience and making a good start to our Dakar preparations. Happy to have JRod back in the team, even if it is in the role of a mentor, as he comes with a lot of experience and his presence in the camp will further strengthen the team’s spirits.”
C.S Santosh, “Merzouga has always been a happy hunting ground for me. Being the first international race of the year it is also an important first step in our preparations for the Dakar 2019. Really looking forward to a good practice race. Also having our mate JRod with us is going to be nice.”
Oriol Mena, “I made my rally debut here last year and also won a stage, so I am really excited to race here again and looking forward to learning more about the sport. We are all very happy that Joaquim will be joining us at the Rally. We will miss his riding but for sure it will be great to have him as a mentor. ”