Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport division of the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., today announced its Team for the Dakar Rally 2019.The Team will feature all three Hero MotoSports’ riders - the most experienced Indian Dakar participant, CS Santosh, Portuguese star Joaquim Rodrigues, and Spanish sensation and ‘Best Rookie of the Dakar 2018’, Oriol Mena.This will be Hero MotoSports’ third consecutive Dakar Rally. Over the previous two years, the team has consistently improved its performance at the Dakar. Having earned a Top-15 finish in 2017, the Team successfully secured a Top-10 finish in 2018. With a great 2018 season, the Team is revving towards Dakar 2019 and looking forward to yet another positive campaign. All three riders will ride on the Hero 450RR rally bike.Announcing this here today, Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp and Head of Hero MotoSports said, “We are enthusiastic and absolutely ready for Dakar 2019. Looking at this high-octane event, which is expected to be even tougher than last year, our focus remains on finishing the Rally. This year has been very good for the Team in terms of preparations and training as it has participated in events across the globe and delivered strong finishes. We aim to ride that momentum in the upcoming Dakar Rally in January.” CS Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “This will be my third Dakar with Hero MotoSports and fifth overall. It has been a very exciting three years and I’m geared up for yet another rendezvous with this unique event. I am satisfied with the preparations and look forward to delivering a solid performance. We have had a good training season and I tried to make every session count. Ultimately, it’s about enjoying the process and arriving at the finish line.”Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said: “It feels great to ride again, after my accident at Dakar 2018.
The recovery has been tough and long but thanks to the prayers and love from my fans I am able to ride again. I have been training particularly hard with a focus on arriving at the finish line safely. This will be my third Dakar and I’m very excited to be riding with my team again and hopeful of delivering a good performance. “Oriol Mena, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said: “I couldn’t have wished for a better debut in rally racing with Hero MotoSports Team Rally providing a fantastic platform and support to me. Had a good year and a great outing at the Dakar 2018. This also raises the stakes for me at Dakar 2019, so I have been training hard and aim to improve my performance this year. Dakar is a very exciting and challenging encounter for a rider. I am feeling thoroughly upbeat about riding with my team amidst an exceptionally talented group of competitors.”In its 41st edition, the 2019 Dakar Rally will take the convoy of participants on a 5,000-kilometre coil around Peru, starting and finishing in Lima, from January 6-17, 2019. There will be a total of 3,000 kilometers of racing divided between 10 special stages, where 70% of the terrain will be covered in sand.Leading up to the Dakar 2019, Hero MotoSports Team Rally participated in many rallies across the globe on its ‘Road to Dakar’ initiative. The Team kicked off its campaign in April 2018 at the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, where it achieved a Top-15 finish. In August, the Team headed to the Atacama Rally in Chile, immediately following it up with a podium finish at the BAJA India Rally. It ended 2018 with a Top-15 finish at the Peru Desafio Inca Rally in September.Hero MotoCorp entered international motorsports with the formation of its rally racing team, ‘Hero MotoSports Team Rally’ in 2016. The Team has already demonstrated immense promise with a series of impressive performances across the world, participating in rallies across four continents – BAJA India and Desert Storm in India (Asia), Merzouga and Olibiya Rallies in Morocco (Africa), Baja Spain (Europe) and Atacama Rally in Chile, Desafio Inca and Dakar Rally (South America).