The Hero 450 RR Rally motorcycle to make its debut in the national racing scene with CS Santosh as the riderTHE

Following its best-ever performance at the toughest rally race in the world – the Dakar Rally, this year, Hero MotoSports Team Rally is all set to enter its first domestic race of the 2018 season – the Desert Storm: 2018.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally – the rally-racing division of the world’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero MotoCorp -will participate in the Rally with its Indian star rider and three-time winner of the Rally, CS Santosh.

This will be Hero MotoSports’ third domestic Rally, following the Desert Storm and BAJA India in 2017. The Desert Storm 2018 will mark the debut of the Hero 450 RR bike on the national racing scene. The bike has already delivered an impressive performance at the Dakar earlier this year.

The Hero MotoSportsTeam’s sole rider for the Rally, CS Santosh, will start the Rally as the favourite and look to add to his tally of victories here. In the 2017 edition of the Desert Storm, Santosh had suffered a back injury that rendered him out of action for three months. This year, the team is hoping to bring home a solid performance without any accidents or mishaps.

This year, the Desert Storm will be conducted from March 17 to March 23, 2018. Following ceremonial flag-off in Noida, the Rally move to Bikaner for its first stage on March 19and then travel to Jaisalmer, where it will spend 4 days before concluding on March 23. The Rally will challenge the riders with a distance of about 1700 kms in and around the famous deserts of Bikaner and Jaisalmer.

Dr. Markus Braunsperger, CTO, Hero MotoCorp and Head of Hero MotoSports, said:“It has been a great year for us with the team improving on every aspect of the sport and delivering very impressive results at the world rally stage. We will continue to push ourselves to deliver even better performances. We are really excited for Santosh racing on his new Dakar bike and taking on the tough Indian terrains at the Desert Storm 2018.”

C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rallysaid: “I am sure this year will be as special as the previous ones at the Desert Storm. I love racing here, in the deserts of Rajasthan. I am also excited to be racing the new Hero 450 RR bike for the first time, in India. I expect a good race and valuable seat time on my Rally bike.”

Hero MotoSports Team Rally delivered its best ever Dakar finish in only itssecond Dakar appearance early this year.

Indian star CS Santosh became the first and the only Indian rider to have finished the Dakar Rally thrice. More significantly, this year he also achieved his best performance ever, finishing the Rally at 35th position. His performance was even more appreciable, given the increased competition level and the Rally being at its toughest in the recent past.

Debutant Oriol Mena of Hero MotoSports Team Rally also impressed everyone and finished at an outstanding 7th position in his debut Dakar Rally. Delivering consistent top 10 stages towards the end of the rally, while everyone was getting tired, Mena shows his tremendous skills and stamina and his ability to learn fast. He was adjudged as the‘Best Rookie Rider’ of the Rally.