Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders continued to make gains for the third consecutive stage at the Dakar 2019. They were greeted with another day of fog, dust and fast riding as the stage 8 went underway from San Juan De Marcona to Pisco. Unlike the first half of the Rally where they were marred by crashes, Hero’s two riders have managed to improve their rankings significantly, with Mena now in top 10 and Joaquim Rodrigues in top 20.
Stage 8 was another fast stage that was impacted by foggy conditions in the beginning that created some impairment for the riders. A long stage with 207 km liaison followed by a 360km special section, tested the competitors with roughly about 40% of sand and dunes and 60% gravel and soft terrain. Being the “Super Ica” stage, it meant that the fastest 10 competitors across the cars, quads, bikes and trucks, from yesterday’s stage started one after the other in a mixed start format. This compounded the difficulty for the riders starting behind who were forced to ride in the dust of the lead pack for a long time.
With a 13th place finish in Stage 8, Joaquim now stands at the 18th place in overall rankings. However, he was in pain as he arrived at the finish line, having suffered a minor injury to his back while tackling the fast stage. Mena posted a flawless stage and continued his final push to gain some valuable time over his close competitors. He finished the stage in 12th place breaking into the top 10 in overall standings. The penultimate stage of the Dakar 2019, will take place in Pisco area with a mass start, for a 313 km loop of special stage. The Rally will then move to the grand finale in Lima.
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 7): “When I started today, it looked like a difficult and dangerous stage so I decided to ride safe and steady with no crashes or mistakes. The Stage terrain was completely damaged due to the previous stage tracks and mixed start. So I focussed on my rhythm and rode more like an endure race with good speed and flow. I am really happy to be across the finish line today and now only 2 more days to go!”
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No: 27): “Today was a really difficult with lot of fog in the mountain and lot of fesh-fesh with rocks making it extremely dangerous to push ahead. I encountered dangerous large hole in the track, which wasn’t mentioned in the road-book. I hit the hole really hard and hurt my back. I am a little bit in pain but happy to finish the line and we see how it goes tomorrow.”