Villamartin, Spain, May, 2021.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the rally racing team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, built on its great result in the Prologue stage to deliver a strong performance in the first stage of the Andalucia Rally today.
Leading the charge for the team Sebastian Buhler had a flawless run to bring in a podium finish in the stage, securing the third place. He was closely followed by Franco, who balanced caution with aggression to finish in the fourth place.
Joaquim Rodrigues, who had to deal with the challenging task of opening the stage today, madea navigation mistake and lost some time in finding his way. However, overall, he managed to tackle the stage well and made it to the finish line in the ninth place.
Today’s solid effort from the riders resulted in Buhler retaining the third place in the overall standings, Franco holding onto to his spot in the Top-5 at the fourth place and JRod settling inside the Top-10 at the eight position.
The first full stage of the rally offered a nice warm up to the rally leading into the next stages. A little shorter than the rest of the stages at 177kms of timed special section, the stage tested competitors with medium fast tracks in the same zone as last year but split into two similar sections separated by the neutralization zones. Poor morning visibility made it a tough start for the riders and then tall grass and the ruts added to the challenge further.
Tomorrow’s stage will be a run of 451km, including the longest special stage at 339 kms that will finish near Coripe, before bringing the riders back to the bivouac in Villamartin.
Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally:“I opened the stage, which is always challenging and then I also made a mistake in navigation that cost me a lot of time in getting myself back on track. These things happen in rally but I am happy that I managed to bring my bike home. Tomorrow is a new day and stage so we’ll take it one day at a time.”
Franco Caimi, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally:“It was a good second contact with the bike in a beautiful stage. We had an early morning start so the visibility was not that good but I had good fun riding today. In the first part of the stage, I had a minor fall, hurt my knee a bit but regained my confidence and rode comfortably through to the finish.”
Sebastian Buhler, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally:“It was a good and positive stage for me. I started with a bit of caution because we had ruts and tall grass all around making it difficult to spot the dangers. So, I changed my riding style a bit to adapt to the terrain and rode without any mistakes to make it safely across the finish line with a good result.”
Provisional Stage 1 Rankings:
1. Lorenzo Santolino Sherco Factory Rally Team 01h 47m 28s
2. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team +22s
3. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01m 00s
4. Franco Caimi Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01m 40s
8. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +07m 14s
Provisional Overall Rankings after Stage 1:
1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team 02h 12m 46s
2. Lorenzo Santolino Sherco Factory Rally Team +22s
3. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +42s
4. Franco Caimi Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01m 34s
9. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +06m 48s