Hero MotoSports Team Rally further consolidated their position in the 2021 Dakar Rally with a good result in the sixth stage today, thereby completing the first half of this year’s Rally.
After the tough outing of yesterday, Joaquim Rodrigues struck form once again and achieved an 8th place finish in the stage. Sebastian Buhler continued to hold his position steady around the early 20s mark with a 21st place finish.
With this steady run, Hero MotoSports Team Rally finds its riders in good positions at the half way mark with JRod at the 17th place and Sebastian Buhler, just shy of the Top 20, at 21st place in the overall rankings.
Considering the difficult Stage 5 that led to several competitors arriving the bivouac very late in the evening, the organizers earlier today decided to shorten the Stage 6 by 100 kms and also deferred the start by almost 90 minutes. However, the stage still challenged the competitors with 348 kms of special featuring dunes of all shapes and colors, which proved physically demanding on the competitors.
The participants will enjoy a well-deserved rest day tomorrow, giving them time to recover from the onslaught of a tough first half of the rally and reassess their strategy for the next half.
Wolfgang Fischer, Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said, “We are happy to arrive today at the Ha’il bivouac after six days of challenging stages. Besides being relieved to get a much-needed rest day, we are also very happy to hear that the head injury of our mate C S Santosh should recover well. We are all confident that he will fully recover soon. In terms of performance, our new bike has delivered a flawless performance and has arrived at the half-way stage successfully. Both our riders have also gained in confidence with every stage and are enjoying themselves. We are now looking forward to the rest-day to prepare ourselves for another six long stages of racing. Hope to see both our riders at the finish line at Jeddah and Santosh in a good condition.”
Joaquim Rodrigues (Competitor No. 27) said, “It was a difficult stage today. It was all sand and dunes, so physically it was very demanding, and yet I was able to put in a good run and bring my Hero bike to the finish line. The bike has been performing really well and has been helping me to achieve these results. I thank Team Hero for providing us this great bike. It makes a big difference to have a really good and reliable bike in this kind of a terrain. It feels so good to finish the first week and I am looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”
Sebastian Buhler (Competitor No. 24) said, “Very hard stage today with riding all day in the sands. It was like 300 odd kms of motocross stage with not much of navigation, so it was very tough on the body. It’s good that we have a rest day tomorrow so we can recover a bit. The bike is performing very well and I am happy to arrive at the half way mark of the rally with no injuries and my bike is in a very good condition.”
Provisional Rankings – Stage 6
1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team 03h 45m 27s
2. Ross Branch Monster Energy Yamaha Team +13s
3. Daniel Sanders KTM Factory Team +53s
8. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +4m 35s
20. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +20m 34s
Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 6
1. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Team 24h 08m 43s
2. Kevin Benavides Monster Energy Honda Team +2m 16s
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Monster Energy Honda Team +02m 57s
17. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +45m 01s
21. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01h 26m 45s