Neom, Saudi Arabia, January, 2021.
The Hero MotoSports Team Rally continued their impressive run at the 2021 Dakar today, registering their third consecutive Top-10 stage finish. It is the first time that Hero MotoSports has achieved this feat at the Dakar.
It was the turn of Sebastian Buhler to lead the team’s charge in Stage 8 of the rally. In the concluding half of the Marathon Stage today, Buhler turned in a stellar performance to finish the stage in the 10th place, his first ever Top-10 stage finish in the Dakar Rally.
Joaquim Rodrigues, on the other hand, had a relatively tough time after his bike hit a rock and he hurt his shoulder from the impact. He had to slow down considerably to get himself back to the bivouac safely. Battling the pain and discomfort, he managed to finish the stage at 25th place.
With the Marathon Stage under their belt, Hero MotoSports finds both its riders perched into the Top 20 in the overall standings with Joaquim on 16th and Sebastian on 19th position at the end of the stage 8.
The second part of the Marathon stage reunited the competitors with their assistance crews for the remaining four stages of the rally. Next up, for Stage 9, the rally will stay in Neom to complete a loop of 465 kms of special section tomorrow.
Joaquim Rodrigues (Competitor No. 27) said, “Things didn’t go that well this morning as I hit a rock and though I didn’t have a crash but hurt my arm and shoulder while tacking it. From there on I struggled a lot as I had to slow down quite a bit and somehow managed to get my bike to the bivouac. So, I am happy that I am back at the bivouac reunited with my team but now I need to get my shoulder checked to ensure that we are all good for tomorrow.”
Sebastian Buhler (Competitor No. 24) said, “I am happy to be in the Top 10 today and to see one more stage in the books. I had to be very careful yesterday to not damage the bike in any way as we had no assistance in the marathon Bivouac. So, my bike was in a good condition today, I managed to ride more freely and build up a good rhythm and pace.”
Provisional Rankings – Stage 8
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Monster Energy Honda Team 03h 08m 40s
2. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Team +01m 05s
3. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team +02m 50s
10. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +7m 58s
25. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +31m 57s
Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 8
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Monster Energy Honda Team 32h 00m 11s
2. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Team +01m 06s
3. Sam Sunderland RedBull KTM Factory Team +05m 57s
16. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01h 17m 49s
19. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +02h 06m 18s