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Hero MotoSports riders steady in Atacama Rally practice for Dakar

Hero MotoSports riders continued to get invaluable miles during the fourth stage of the Atacama Rally on Friday with Oriol Mena finishing 11th and Joaquim Rodrigues finishing 13th.

other sports Updated: Aug 18, 2018 20:48 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Copiapo
Oriol Mena,Hero MotoSports,Atacama Rally
Hero MotoSports’ Oriol Mena in action at the Atacama Rally. (HT Photo)

In motorsports, teams like to spend as much time on the field as possible. It gives them enough opportunity to fine tune their vehicles for bigger tests.

It’s no different for Hero MotoSports Team Rally who are using the Atacama Rally as a buildup to the 2019 Dakar Rally.

Four weeks later they will also participate in a rally in Peru, a 2019 Dakar venue, to make sure they are ready to mount a decent challenge.

Wolfgang Fischer, Hero’s team manager, feels using a real race always helps to fine tune a bike better for an event like Dakar.

“We do lot of testing with our riders but there’s nothing like getting the inputs from a live race, putting the bike through real test,” said the German, who had been with the team since its inception in 2016.

Hero riders continued to get invaluable miles during the fourth stage of the Atacama Rally on Friday with Oriol Mena finishing 11th and Joaquim Rodrigues finishing 13th.

Mena moved one place in the overall standings to 12th. Rodrigues, currently 17th, had failed to finished stage three due to technical issues but put in a solid performance on Friday to finished higher up the order despite starting last.

Spaniard Mena said, “I decided to not push too much today and focus on arriving at the finish line safely. One day more done and now it’s one day less to bring another rally in the books. There has been a lot of learning for me throughout and I am happy with the way I am riding, the bike and the team.”

Portuguese Rodrigues said he was happy with his effort especially after not finishing the third stage. “After the technical issue yesterday I was happy to make a start today. It was a very difficult stage for me as I started behind all the bikes, especially a couple of quads.

“The stage was really fast and with all the dust in the front of me, it was very risky to ride. It was anyway difficult to pass the riders in front so I decided to take it steady and safe. The bike was working really well today so I am happy to ride again and arrive at the finish line safely.”

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 20:48 IST