The Dakar Rally – the most gruelling race on the planet – flagged off its 40th edition in all its glory at Lima, the capital city of Peru today. This edition of Dakar Rally marks the 2nd year of participation for India’s Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the rally racing division of Hero MotoCorp – the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer. The Team had an impressive Dakar debut in 2017 with a 12th place finish for the Team’s ace Portuguese rider, Joaquim Rodrigues.
The three riders of Hero MotoSports Team Rally rolled off the ceremonial podium, in front of thousands of cheering fans who assembled in downtown Lima to give a warm send off to the participants.
After a long liaison of 242 kms, the short 1st special stage of 31 kms was kicked off from Lima to Pisco. Indian ace rider CS Santosh made a very good start on his 4th Dakar outing and closed the day with his best ever Dakar stage finish at 13th position.
Oriol Mena made a cautious start to his Dakar dreams and finished at a stable 22nd position.
An unfortunate crash at the half-way mark of the stage brought an abrupt end to Joaquim Rodrigues’ participation in this year’s Rally. He was rushed to the hospital where initial scans showed no signs of any major injuries. He is now recuperating.