Hero MotoSports Team Rally enjoys a solid start into the Oilybia rally
The Oilybia Rally Morocco 2016 is underway. The final round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship has begun this afternoon in Agadir with a seven kilometre prologue. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally with its riders CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues got off to a solid start. Portuguese Rodrigues finished the super special stage in 12th place, India´s Santosh classified 26th.
The short opening sprint mainly determined the starting order for tomorrow´s first desert stage. For the riders though it´s always important to shake off the nerves and get into the competition. “I started a little nervous,” Rodrigues said. “I caught one guy in front of me going down the hill. I couldn´t pass him because of the dust so I lost a lot of time. After I had passed him the rest was good. Overall I´m pretty happy to be in the Top 15. That´s a good position to be in for tomorrow.”
“Today´s prologue was important,” adds Santosh. “I knew I had to get through it without any problems. That´s what I tried to do. I made a small mistake a few hundred metres into the stage. I recovered after that and caught another rider. Today was just a five-minute dash and I can´t really complain. We´ll see where we can progress when the rally really starts.”
“Both our riders have enjoyed a proper start,” commented Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer. “There was some dust, other than that our riders had no problems. It´s good to see ´J-Rod´ in the Top 15 and also CS is in a decent position. Everyone here at Hero MotoSports Team Rally is looking forward to the first desert stage.”
The proceedings have been closely followed by Hero MotorCorp´s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Markus Braunsperger. “It´s great to be here for me. It´s my first time with the team in action,” he said. “It´s good to see how well they are prepared. Things are running smoothly and there´s a great team spirit. It´s important that both our riders finish the race. Obviously the bike suits them well. I´m keeping my fingers crossed over the next five days.”
On Monday the participants face the first real test of the event, having to complete a 120 kilometres long special test during the opening stage called “Loop of Agadir”. The course mostly leads along the coast line.
1. Toby Price, AUS, KTM 4:56 min
2. Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, Husqvarna +0:08 3. Sam Sunderland, GBR, KTM +0:10 4. Paulo Goncalves, POR, Honda +0:10 5. Xavier des Soultrait, FRA, Yamaha +0:12 12. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero MotoSports Team Rally +0:19 26. CS Santosh, IND, Hero MotoSports Team Rally +0:54