Al Qaisumah, Saudi Arabia, January 04, 2022.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsports team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, achieved a strong result in the second stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally with both riders finishing within the top 10positions.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders – Joaquim Rodrigues and Aaron Maré– delivered an inspiring run in the longstage 2 and postedgood results with JRod finishing in sixth place and Aaron in the 10th place in the Rally GP class.

After a difficult stage 1B where he lost considerable time, JRod managed to push his way back to the top on January 3rd. Astride the powerful Hero Rally 450, his much more confident run helped him move up to the 18th positionin the overall rankings.

Aaron Maré continued to grow in confidence, and delivered yet another solid stage to strengthen his position in the overall rankings table, moving one place up to the 9thposition.

Stage 2 of the race was an exceptionally long one, starting at Ha’il and traversing over 791kms to reach the bivouac at Al Qaisumah. With more than a quarter of the 339 km special section lined with chains of dunes, this stage presented the competitors with a taste of what the rest of the race will look like. Navigating through the day’s winding and undulating sandy tracks, dune ridges,andridge crossings was quite a task.

In Stage 3, the rally will present an equally difficult368 km special sectionwith complicated navigation around numerous intersections across the long sand and soil mixed terrain. The riders will leave from Al Qaisumah early in the morning and will return to the bivouac after completing the stage.

Joaquim Rodrigues

“It was a really good day for me – almost like a reward – after having lost a lot of time in the stage 1B. I was able to put up a good pace right from the beginning of the stage, and was able to catch up with the riders ahead of me. The bike also performed really well, and that helped me a lot. Two stages are done, ten more to go.”

Aaron Maré

“I am really happy with how the day unfolded for me. Some of the late starters caught up with me around refuel, and it was really fun to ride with them almost till the end. It was also good to learn how the other competitors are riding, and to work with them and get a good pace going. I’m happy with my results, and hope to continue the steady run!”

Provisional Stage 2 Rankings – RallyGP class:

1.         Joan Barreda Bort                Monster Energy Honda Team         03h 31m 20s

2.         Sam Sunderland                    GasGas Factory Racing                     + 05m 33s

3.         Kevin Benavides                    Red Bull KTM Factory Racing          + 05m 54s

4.         Skyler Howes                         Husqvarna Factory Racing              + 06m 16s

6.         Joaquim Rodrigues             Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 10m 18s

10.       Aaron Maré                          Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 12m 37s

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2 – RallyGP class:

1.         Sam Sunderland                    GasGas Factory Racing                     08m 31m 29s

2.         Adrien van Beveren              Monster Energy Yamaha                  + 02m 51s

3.         Daniel Sanders                      GasGas Factory Racing                     + 03m 29s

4.         Matthias Walkner                  Red Bull KTM Factory Team                       + 04m 08s

9.         Aaron Maré                          Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 18m 41s     

17.       Joaquim Rodrigues             Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 45m 13s

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2 – All classes:

1.         Sam Sunderland                    GasGas Factory Racing                     08m 31m 29s

2.         Adrien van Beveren              Monster Energy Yamaha                  + 02m 51s

3.         Daniel Sanders                      GasGas Factory Racing                     + 03m 29s

4.         Matthias Walkner                  Red Bull KTM Factory Team                       + 04m 08s

9.         Aaron Maré                          Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 18m 41s     

18.       Joaquim Rodrigues             Hero MotoSports Team Rally      + 45m 13s