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All the three riders of the Hero MotoSports Team Rally today delivered an inspired run in Stage 2 of the 2021 Dakar Rally. Pushing hard, the riders posted significant gains with Joaquim Rodrigues finishing the stage in 12th place, Sebastian Buhler in 14th place and C S Santosh in 36th place.

Leading the charge for the team, Joaquim Rodrigues turned a leaf to deliver a much more confident run today in the first sandy stage of the rally. As a result of today’s effort, he breached into the Top 20 in the overall rankings and is now placed 17th.

Sebastian Buhler was also not far behind his mentor as he too found his rhythm to achieve a faster pace in today’s stage. Improving on his overnight standings, he is now placed at the 24th position in the overall standings.

C S Santosh continued to grow in confidence and delivered a solid stage to leap up by several positions in the overall rankings to finish on the 36th position in the overall standings.

With 82% sand and close to 13% dunes, today’s stage presented much more familiar surroundings to the competitors in contrast to Stage 1. While the extremely soft dunes offered a great challenge for the machines, the Hero 450 Rally bike was up to the challenge and delivered a flawless performance, yet again. With two riders in top 15 and solid performance by the bike, it was a stage of all-round gains for Hero MotoSports Team Rally.

In Stage 3, the rally will stay in Wadi Ad-Dawasir to do a 629 km loop that will includea timed special of 403 kms.

Joaquim Rodrigues (Competitor No. 27) said,“Today was a completely different stage fromyesterday. It was much faster with really soft sands and a lot of open ground. On onedune, my bike got stuck and the sand was so soft that it got buried almost up to the handlebar. So, I lost some time there trying to get out of that but otherwise I felt a lot better today andkind of started to get into my rhythm again. I was able to finish the stage with no problemswith the bike so it was definitely a much better day for me.”

C S Santosh (Competitor No. 50) said,“I started the stage with a lot of motivation today. It

was a fast stage and the new bike started feeling really good and safe, so I am really happywith that. I am slowly building my confidence and if I can continue like this for the rest of the

stages, I think I will be in a really good position by the time the rally finishes. So, today was a

good start in the right direction for me.”

Sebastian Buhler (Competitor No. 24) said,“It was a very nice stage with a little bit ofeverything – from soft dunes to sandy tracks, open tracks and even some rocks. Our new bikeworked very well in these conditions so I was able to ring in a decent pace and rhythm today.”

Provisional Rankings – Stage 2

1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team       04h 17m 56s

2. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team       +03m 55s

3. Pablo Quintanilla Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing         +06m 02s

12. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally       +18m 08s

14. Sebastian Buhler     Hero MotoSports Team Rally         +20m 47s

36. C S Santosh                 Hero MotoSports Team Rally         +44m 21s

Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 2

1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team       08h 15m 38s

2. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team       +06m 23s

3. Ross Branch Monster Energy Yamaha Team       +06m 37s

17. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally       +20m 21s

24. Sebastian Buhler     Hero MotoSports Team Rally         +36m 00s

36. C S Santosh                 Hero MotoSports Team Rally         +01h 22m47s

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