Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motor-sport division of Hero MotoCorp Ltd, is now in the final stages of preparations for the Dakar Rally 2018. Hero today showcased its new RR 450 for the first time in India while announcing the team for the Rally. This will be Hero's second appearance at the Dakar Rally, which is said to be the most dangerous automotive race in the world. Hero MotorSports also announced its team for this year's rally, which includes CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues. In addition, the two will be joined by Spanish talent Oriol Mena Valdearcos in next year's Dakar Rally. Mena was inducted into the team in September this year and will be making his debut at the Dakar.
Hero RR 450 is an upgrade from the rally motorcycle from last year, and inculcates new design and styling of the tank, body parts and front section to improve mass centralisation, handling and riding ergonomics.
The RR 450 proved its capabilities at the OilIbya Rally in Morocco this year. This year's motorcycle has been improved greatly post considering the key learnings from the team's rookie year and last year's Dakar experience.
Hero MotorSports Team Rally registered a successful run in its debut year. It was the only manufacturer team with 100% arrivals at the 2017 edition of the Dakar Rally. The team also registered its maiden win at BAJA India and a podium finish at the Desert Storm. The team is now preparing to improve its position at Dakar this year with an impressive 12th position finish already in the bag from last year.
The Dakar is the biggest rally in the world, and for its 40th edition, it will cross through three countries starting from Peru on 6 January 2018. It will travel through Bolivia before concluding in Argentina on 20 January. This year's Dakar is expected to see participation from 500 competitors, from 60 countries, who will cover about 9000 km. Out of the total 14 stages, seven will include 100% dunes/offpiste, one will be marathon stage for all categories and one marathon stage will be only for motorcycles and quads.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp and Head of Hero MotoSports said, “We are excited and prepared for Dakar 2018. The team is stronger, both in terms of men and machine. We are focused on improving our last year’s performance at the Dakar next month and believe that we have the right tools to do it. Next year will be important for us, as we aim to win more rallies and grow the sport in India.”
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said, “The last race for the Team was in October this year. The riders have been under intense training sessions, to improve their mental and physical fitness since their Dakar 2017 performance. They had a good run on the new bike at OiLibya and are now more confident on it. There is excitement in the Team with the addition of Oriol and the entire team is now raring to have another go at the Dakar.”
CS Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “I am satisfied with this year’s preparations, where I had the opportunity to work with industry professionals and experts, which brought in a better structure to the preparations. I am very happy with the new bike that we raced with at the OiLibiya Rally in October. The new bike is light, agile and makes going fast safe! This Dakar I will aim to make each and everyday count! Ultimately it’s about enjoying the process and arriving at the finish line.”